Australia toughens up citizenship test

Australia will abolish a temporary work visa popular with foreigners and replace it with a new programme requiring better English-language and job skills, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said yesterday.

Turnbull now feels that these tests are not enough to assess whether an applicant has understanding of and commitment to "Australian values" and responsibilities.

The current "civics" test for would-be Australians would be expanded to include issues such as domestic violence, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said.

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Turnbull said that it was more important than ever that Australians from any background, race, and religion "buy in" to Australian values, such as mutual respect and equality.

"This will be good for the applicants, good for the nation, underlining our Australian values at the very heart of Australian citizenship", he said.

Kath and Kim Now is an unofficial account dedicated to imagining what the daily lives of Australia's favourite family would be now, and even they had a crack at suggesting Australia's values.

He also said, five million people had committed to becoming Australian citizens since 1949, helping to secure and enrich the nation.

A second four-year visa will require a higher standard of English language skills as well as a proper criminal check.

The government plans on introducing new legislation to revamp the citizenship process by the end of the year.

Candidates for citizenship will under the new rules be required to be permanent residents for four years against one year today. "We'll no longer allow 457 visas to be passports to jobs that could and should go to Australians".

The government said skilled migrants should only be brought in to "fill gaps" in the workforce, and should not be given work at the expense of Australian workers.

While the Indian Government indicated on Tuesday night the visa changes might threaten negotiations for a trade deal, Mr Turnbull talked up the importance of jobs going to Australian workers first.

At present, there is no limit to the number of times a person can fail the test.

They will also need to pass an English test and provide evidence they have been working to show they can integrate into the country, according to Daily Mail. "Why should the test simply be a checklist of civic questions?"

The Opposition says that some of the changes might be for political reasons.

"That would affect the students if they think their occupations are out of the list, so they might choose another country which has a more favourable immigration policy for them", she said.

  • Zachary Reyes