The citizenship changes proposed sometime last year by the Turnbull government is now back on the government’s agenda. This include to “implement a package of reforms designed to strengthen the requirements to become and remain an Australian citizen including in relation to longer residency from one year to four years as a permanent resident, command of the English language, respecting the Australian values, integration into the Australian community and tougher character requirements.
“Citizenship changes a priority”
The bill has been categorized as “a priority status” by the Department of Home Affairs at the Senate Estimates hearing of the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee in May this year. The changes in the citizenship requirements will make the wait longer and eligibility tougher for potential citizens.
Over 200,000 citizenship applications awaiting outcome
After the changes were announced in April 2017, the citizenship processing backlog reached an alarming level. Up to April this year, over 200,000 applications of citizenship are still awaiting outcome from the Department of Home Affairs. “The number of citizenship applications on hand for conferral is 209,826 as of 30 April 2018” the Senate Estimate Hearing was told by a member of the Department of Home Affairs in May.