CANBERRA Authentic Oren Burks Jersey , April 20 (Xinhua) -- It will be tougher for migrantsto become Australian citizens under sweeping changes to thenation's citizenship test, announced by Prime Minister MalcolmTurnbull and Immigration Minister Peter Dutton on Thursday.
Applicants will be required to demonstrate that they adhere to""Australian values,"" speak ""competent"" English and will need tohave been a permanent resident for at least four years beforeapplying to take the test, in a significant tightening of therequirements for citizenship.
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Turnbull said thatit was more important than ever that Australians from anybackground, race Authentic Kenny Clark Jersey , and religion ""buy in"" to Australian values, suchas mutual respect and equality.
""There is no more important title in our democracy than'Australian citizen.' And citizenship, that institution mustreflect Australian values,"" Turnbull said.
""We're not defined by race, religion or culture, as many othernations are. We're defined by commitment to values. Democracy Authentic Jamaal Williams Jersey ,freedom, mutual respect, equality for men and women ... thesefundamental common values are what make us Australian.""
""Our citizenship process should reflect that, so today we areannouncing changes to strengthen citizenship to make for a strongerAustralia.""
Turnbull said the current test did not require applicants tospeak ""competent"" English, something he described as a ""vitalrequirement"" for citizenship.
""We all know that the key to successful integration into theAustralian community, to economic success and social success Authentic Kevin King Jersey , isbeing able to speak English, so it's a very important change,""Turnbull said.
""We need to ensure that our citizenship test enables applicantsto demonstrate how they've integrated into and engaged with ourAustralian community.""
""Does anybody doubt that if you want to succeed, if you want toeven have a chance of succeeding in Australia, you need to be ableto speak English?""
Under the changes, prospective citizens will need to have been apermanent resident for four years (up from 12 months) Authentic JK Scott Jersey , will need topass an English test at the ""competent"" IELTS level 6 equivalent,and provide evidence that they are integrating into society, suchas by producing tax payments, employment records and schoolingrecords for children.
Also part of the changes, a questionnaire will crack down on""inappropriate"" attitudes such as domestic violence, violenceagainst women Authentic Josh Jackson Jersey , forced marriages and female genital mutilation.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, who masterminded the changes,said the government and Australians should ""not be ashamed"" toexpect that prospective citizens adhere to ""Australian values.""
""I don't think we should be ashamed of saying that we wantpeople who are going to abide by the law, people who are going topick up Australian values, still honor their heritage, but whenyou're in Australia you abide by Australian laws Authentic Jaire Alexander Jersey , you abide by ourvalues,"" Dutton said on Thursday.
""At the same time we want people to honor and respect theirheritage and their culture, the country from which they'vemigrated, but once you're here and once you seek Australiancitizenship we do very clearly want you to be part of our team andwe want you to be abiding by laws, we want you to be adoptingAustralian values and integrating into Australian life.""
Assistant Minister for Social Services and Multicultural AffairsZed Seselja added that the changes would not only benefit Australiaas a community, but those seeking citizenship Authentic Ha Ha Clinton-Dix Jersey , by motivating themto learn English and assimilate into society.
""If you can't communicate with those around you it makes life somuch harder, so this has benefits not only for us as a nation, buthas benefits for those we are assisting and attempting tointegrate,"" Seselja told Sky News on Thursday.
Meanwhile the Labor opposition's spokesperson Jim Chalmers saidhis party was not consulted on the changes and admitted he wouldlike to know more before passing judgment.
""We'd like to know more of the details. We want to make surethey're well motivated changes,"" Chalmers told Sky News.
""I think a lot of Australians would be deeply skeptical of thePrime Minister's motivations in the general area, whether it becitizenship or on (the recently scrapped) 457 skilled migrantsvisa).""
The citizenship announcement comes just days after thegovernment announced it was scrapping the nation's skilled migrantsvisa in favor of two new visas with additional requirements.
The government said skilled migrants should only be brought into ""fill gaps"" in the workforce Authentic Randall Cobb Jersey , and should not be given work atthe expense of Australian workers. Enditem
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