The Department of Home Affairs has quietly announced some proposed changes to Citizenship application requirements, to be effective from 1 July 2018. These proposed changes include:

  • RESIDENCE REQUIREMENT: Applicants will now have to have been a permanent resident in Australia for four years prior to submitting an application for Australian Citizenship, with no more than one year total spent outside Australia.

  • ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEST: Applicants applying for citizenship by conferral will need to undergo a separate English language test that will examine the applicant’s listening, speaking, reading and writing skills.

  • AUSTRALIAN VALUES STATEMENT: The statement will be updated to include an allegiance to Australia and a requirement for all applicants to completely integrate into and contribute to the community. Applicants will also be asked to prove how they have integrated into the community.

  • CITIZENSHIP TEST: the current test will be updated to include new test questions about the responsibilities and privileges that come with an Australian Citizenship, as well as Australian values.

  • PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE: The pledge of allegiance to Australia will extend to applicants aged 16 and over for all application streams (Conferral, adoption and descent).

These are only proposed changes, and still need to pass through parliament to be enacted. However, following this announcement, we would recommend applying for Citizenship now if you are eligible, to avoid any changes that may come into effect on 1 July 2018. If you need assistance in lodging an application, please contact us to speak with our Registered Migration Agents.