Citizenship Update – Citizenship Bill struck down in Senate
On Wednesday 18 October 2017, the Australian government’s controversial citizenship bill - Australian Citizenship Legislation Amendment (Strengthening the Requirements for Australian Citizenship and Other Measures) Bill 2017 failed to pass the Australian Senate, leaving the bill dead in its current form.
The planned amendments would have required applicants to have at least ‘competent English’, reside in Australia on a permanent visa for four years and provide evidence of integration into the Australian community.
A spokesperson for the Department of Immigration and Border Protection has confirmed that migrants who have already put in applications for citizenship, and those who still plan to, will be assessed under current requirements rather than the tougher measures that were announced by the Australian government earlier this year.
It is also clear that those who have already applied can expect a long wait for their applications to be processed as there is a significant backlog of applications in the system.
It was also confirmed that the Australian government has plans to introduce the changes to citizenship and will continue to work with senators to secure the support of the bill. The government plans to introduce new changes on 1st July 2018. If you apply for Australian citizenship on or after this date, your application will be assessed against the new requirements.
Our advice is to apply as soon as possible (if you qualify now) before the government makes amendments to the bill and starts re-negotiations in the Senate. Delaying a citizenship application may result in your application being assessed under new rules with higher standards.
If you would like advice on your eligibility for citizenship, please book a consultation with one of our Registered Migration Agents and we can discuss requirements with you.