In April of this year the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull flagged changes to the Citizenship Act and Migration Act, which are now being examined by a Senate inquiry.
The draft legislation includes a number of proposals, including extending the wait for permanent residents to four years, instead of one, before they are eligible to apply for citizenship. It also proposes a new citizenship test and a pledge of allegiance to Australia and a requirement to display Australian values.
Applicants will need a “competent” instead of “basic” proficiency in English. Although the legislation does not spell out what this is, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has previously said English proficiency will equate to level six of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).
One of the potential problems is that people will need to wait an additional three years for citizenship which might also see skilled permanent residents leave Australia, rather than wait for citizenship. This may lead to a case of temporary residents not being able to count their time in Australia toward that of the proposed citizenship changes. We will wait and see.