The proposed tougher English test for Australian citizenship has been hugely divisive downunder.
The bill was passed in Australia’s parliamentary lower house on Monday, which will make the current tests to acquire Australian citizenship a little tougher.
Once the lower house approves a bill, it is sent to the Senate (upper house) for debate and then ultimately, a vote as to whether it should become law.
The changes to the citizenship tests aren’t wholesale, but they have raised the bar for an English speaking skills-set.
What’s on the Australian Citizenship Test?
Those who struggle with English – despite transferable work skills and a genuine desire for integration – will now find it even more difficult to live permananetly in Australia
There are two sides and polarising opinions attached to this move. The government are positive that it will make Australia a safer place, as explained by Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton:
Why it will work…
- English Language is crucial for integration and employment
- The changes will exclude those who do not value what it means to be Australian
- People coming into Australia under these rules will do better with integration
“Australian citizenship should be highly valued and the government’s changes will ensure that it is a privilege obtained by only those who’ve demonstrated the most sincere commitment to Australia, our values and respect for our laws, as it should be.”
Moving to Australia
Australia’s opposing Labor party have denounced the bill, however. Their MP Jason Clare challenged the proposals set out by Mr Dutton, and claimed that the changes would be harmful to Australia.
Why it may not work…
(According to Jason Clare)
- Only people with university-level English skills will be able to pass the tests
- It excludes a section of society that would be very helpful to the Australian workforce
- New citizenship tests aren’t the answer. Australia must do more to boost these skills
“The better your English, the better your chance of getting a job, the better your chance of getting ahead, the better your chance of integrating properly into our society.
But that doesn’t mean we should be denying people citizenship because they don’t have university English skills. It means we should be doing more to boost these skills.”
The citizenship changes have been referred to a senate inquiry, which is due to report back before September 4.