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Posted at: Apr 21, 2017, 2:13 AM; last updated: Apr 21, 2017, 9:39 AM (IST)

Oz makes getting citizenship tougher

Oz makes getting citizenship tougher
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull

Canberra, April 20

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced major changes to citizenship laws, making it tougher for foreign nationals to become Australian citizens.

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Aspiring citizens would have to undergo tougher tests on their English language skills and ability to demonstrate “Australian values”, Turnbull said.

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As part of the new measure, the waiting period has been extended for applicants before they are handed out citizenship. The applicants will also be required to have lived in Australia as a permanent resident for at least four years (up from one year) and will be allowed to fail the citizenship test only three times. At present, there is no limit on the number of times a person can fail the test.

“It is important that they understand that they are making a commitment to Australian values,” he said.

The current citizenship test—a multiple-choice questionnaire—tests an applicant’s knowledge about Australian laws, flags and national symbols. 

Turnbull said this test was not enough to assess whether an applicant has understanding of and commitment to “Australian values” and responsibilities. In explaining what constituted “Australian values”, Turnbull said migrants must demonstrate support for religious freedom and gender equality.

The test the prospective citizens are required to pass will focus on respect for women and children. It will also reportedly include possible questions about child marriage, female genital mutilation and domestic violence, according to the report.

The announcement comes two days after Turnbull outlined an overhaul of the 457 temporary foreign worker visa system, much sought after by Indians. — IANS


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