Proposed Australian Citizenship Changes Fail | AMVL Migrations


The Turnbull Government’s controversial citizenship reforms were dumped by the Senate on Wednesday 18 October after missing the deadline to pass the proposed bill. The planned amendments would have required applicants to reside in Australia for 4 years on a permanent visa prior to applying for citizenship, demonstrate at least a ‘competent’ level of English and provide evidence of integration into the Australian community. Immigration Minister Peter Dutton had also sought to retrospectively apply the changes to all people who applied for citizenship from 20 April 2017; however this could not secure support from the Senate.


This is exciting news and means thousands of migrants are no longer left in limbo. A spokesperson for Minister Dutton has confirmed to that migrants who have already put in applications for Australian citizenship, and those who still plan to, can be confident that their applications will be assessed under the current requirements rather than the tougher measures announced by the government in April this year.


Those who have already applied can still expect a bit of wait for processing, as the Department of Immigration advises there is a significant backlog of applications in the system.


Currently, in order to be eligible to apply for Citizenship applicants must have been permanent residents for at least 12 months, been lawfully resident in Australia for 4 years immediately prior to lodgement, and have had no long absences from Australia (no more than 12 months in the 1 year before applying and not more than 90 days in the 12 months immediately before applying).


No doubt Minister Dutton will have learnt from his mistakes and the proposed citizenship reforms will be redrafted and eventually reintroduced to the Senate. We envisage the changes will continue to require applicants to evidence a certain level of English competency and include a longer period of permanent residency (more than the current 12 months). The revised start date for the changes could possibly be from 1 July 2018, if the government can obtain Senate support.


If you are eligible under the current citizenship criteria, we strongly encourage you to apply now without delay. AMVL is happy to provide an assessment on your eligibility for Australian citizenship. Contact us for advice and assistance with lodgement.