Following the failure of the Citizenship Bill last year which stopped changes to Citizenship requirements, a new Bill is back on the table in Parliament. If this Bill passes, almost all applicants for Citizenship will have to demonstrate University level spoken and written English and that they have lived in Australia for 8 years as a permanent resident with no more than 365 days outside Australia during that period.
If you feel like letting the Government know what you think about that they will not accept form letters, petitions, or short statements of fewer than 250 words. As an alternative, they have developed an online survey inviting a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response to allow members of the public to express their view on the bill.
The survey closes at 5pm on 27 April, 2018 – next Friday.
The Government has made Citizenship a major media issue in more ways than one during 2017. However in terms of announced changes for residents applying for Australian Citizenship, that issue has turned out to be no issue at all. As mentioned in my last blog, after a wishlist of changes to the Citizenship requirements had been announced by the Government in the form of a Bill tabled in Parliament, there was no change to the law then and there has still been no change to the law. All this year the option to make a valid application for Citizenship based on the requirements under law that were in place before the wishlist was announced has been and continues to be open to legitimate candidates. I have advised my clients to make their valid citizenship applications regardless of the announcements.
Last month the wishlist died a death with the defeat of the Bill and no changes have been made to Citizenship requirements. Watch this space for a new amended Bill foreshadowed by Minister Dutton some time before the middle of next year. For the time being, Australian Citizenship applications made before 1 July 2018 will not be affected by any proposed changes.