The Australian Govt. has decided not to go ahead with the proposal for conducting tougher Citizenship tests. The Govt. had earlier proposed tougher tests in order to promote Australian values but will not go through with it now. This move has been lauded by many community leaders.
The Govt. had announced changes to the Citizenship test earlier in 2019. The announcement had been made along with Visa rule changes and a cut in the immigration intake. However, the Australian Media has now reported that changes to the Citizenship test have now been scrapped.
One of the proposed changes was for immigrants to prove their English language skills. Citizenship applicants were required to score a Band 6 on IELTS to qualify for Australian citizenship.
After a debacle in the Senate, the Govt. has now reduced the English language requirement to Band 5 (moderate level).
Among the proposed changes was a ban of 2 years on candidates who had failed the citizenship test thrice. Other changes included appearing for an English test as well as answering questions on Australian values.
However, it has now been announced that the Govt. will no longer implement the proposed changes, as per Courier Mail.
Immigration Minister, David Coleman, said that the proposals were intended for future citizenship applicants. However, the Govt. will continue to supervise the current Citizenship requirements and the citizenship program as a whole. He also said that the Govt. intends to provide the best prospects for success for future candidates who wish to commit to becoming an Australian citizen.
The Federation of Ethnic Communities Council of Australia has applauded the Federal Govt.’s decision of not going ahead with the changes. Mary Patetsos, Chairperson of FECCA, said that most immigrants are already proficient in English. Once in Australia, their skills only developed further, she added.
Shadow Immigration Minister, Kristina Keneally, congratulated Australia for being “multicultural” and “ for standing up to the Govt.” Multicultural communities across Australia had opposed the Govt.’s proposal of making changes to the English requirement.
Ms Keneally went on to add that the proposed changes to the citizenship tests were discriminatory.
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