Australia citizenship update. On October 18, 2017, the Australian Senate landed a heavy blow to Turnbull’s Government plan of tougher citizenship requirements.
The plan, as it stood yesterday, included a 400% increase of waiting time, from one year to four before a permanent resident can apply for citizenship; tougher English-language requirements (nothing less than level 6 IELTS) and additional powers for the immigration minister (i.e. to rule out AAT decision, bypassing judicial review, if the minister thinks the decision is not in line with Australia’s interest).
You know what, it’s simply not the best time to be Peter Dutton.
The immigration minister should see red color flagging since last month when Nick Xenophon and his cohorts, the NXT, said they won’t support the bill.
The fact that he failed to present the citizenship bill to the Senate in the given deadline wasn’t helping him either. The Labor, Green and the NXT let the bill drown in the Senate.
What It Means For Australian Immigrants Seeking for Australia Citizenship?
Those who applied for citizenship prior to/on April 20, 2017 and have a plan to do it after the immigration minister announced the overhaul are no longer in uncertainties. Their applications will be processed under the current law, namely the 2007 Australian Citizenship Act.
“There are many thousands of people whose lives have basically been put on hold by Peter Dutton and from today those people can move forward with their lives, make choices about their future and have confidence that their applications will be assessed under the current legislation,”
Greens Senator Nick McKim to SBS
Actually, our migration agent, Scott Walker, predicted about such update on Australia citizenship back in May. Not only the announcement put the immigrants in limbo, it seemed to confuse the lawmakers as well. See the post here.
It’s one thing to amend the law, especially in a democratic country. Imposing the new rule even before it becomes law, however, is quite another. It has raised more than eyebrows that the Department seemed to do just that.
Of course Turnbull’s Government can re-introduce the bill in the future and restart the battle of citizenship all over again. That, however, won’t happen until they amend the points therein. At this point, no one wants to buy it. And even then, there’s no guarantee whatsoever that the opposition will just roll over and accept what the Coalition proposes.