Plans To Change Citizenship Laws Before July

SBS recently published this article, to announce that the Government are, once again, planning to tighten Australian citizenship requirements. This is planned to take effect from 01 July 2018.

What are the Proposed Changes?

The proposed changes are speculated to increase residency requirements, a new process for determining an applicant’s integration into the community, changes to the citizenship test, etc. For more information you can view the Australian Citizenship Legislation Amendment (Strengthening the Commitments for Australian Citizenship and Other Measures) Bill 2018 that was released on 07 February 2018. The changes include:

  • The 1-year residency requirement will be changed to 8 years residency requirement;
  • Requirement of English to be at competency level
  • The special consideration to waive residency requirement will be removed.

What is Retrospective Effect?

For the purpose of this subject, ‘retrospective effect’ means that even if you lodge an application before the law is passed, your application will unfortunately be required to meet the requirements of the new laws which prejudicially eliminates any chance of success. An example of the Australian government applying such laws can be seen last April 2017 where the Department of Home Affairs (formerly known as Department of Immigration and Border Protection), published an alarming notice on its website sometime in the 2nd half of 2017 confirming that all applications for citizenship lodged after the announcement made by the Minister for Immigration in April 2017 will be assessed under new laws. This notice was confidently published despite the fact that the laws were still being reviewed and not passed yet by the Parliament. Upon reviewing the bill, we found the same retrospective clause contained where it were passed, reinforced the astonishing notice published on the Department’s website. Another example of such unreasonable practice which is more current, can been seen on the impending changes to the employer sponsored migration program. Without notice, the Department announced that it will increase the eligibility requirements for PR for 457 visa holders from 2 years to 3 years before being eligible for permanent residency. However, applicants who lodged or held a subclass 457 before April 2017 would not be affected by these changes.

What did we learn from the Past?

Last year, the Department stopped processing applications as they waited for the Parliament to pass the law. This aggrieved many of our clients who put in their application in early 2017, leaving them feeling uncertain with their future particularly where the delays with processing applications were dragged out as long as the arduously dragged out debates before the Parliament.

What if you do not meet the Eligibility Requirements?

Under the current citizenship laws, there are methods to waive certain requirements. This office has helped numerous clients with applications where they have not met residency requirements, such having resided in Australia for at least 4 years or having reside in Australia for at least 1 year as a holder of a PR. We are also in the midst of helping clients who have not even held PR for 1 month in their application for citizenship.
Next Step

For more information about your circumstances, Admin of our office has been specially appointed to deal with urgent and complex cases. Please email him at admin@immigrationplus.com.au or +61756611431 immediately.

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