The tough English language test for Australian citizenship applicants may be diluted by the Government of Australia as indicated by the latest developments. Immigration Minister of Australia had proposed that the test must be of the level of Band 6 – IELTS. This has been severely opposed by the opposition parties and diverse stakeholders in immigration sector. It has been pointed that this is the level of university and tough for individuals who do not have English as the first language.
The lead times associated with residence was also severely criticized. It was explained that the fresh proposals for Australian citizenship applicants would be biased. Immigrants from several nations would struggle to pass these criteria, as quoted by the Australian Forum.
On the other hand, the Senate Parliamentary Committee that is thrashing out the proposals has made several recommendations. It includes decreasing the proposed requirements for the English language. It said in the report that the new test for the English language must not be too tough to deter several Australian citizenship applicants. These applicants would have in the past proved to be valuable members of Australian society with basic competency in the English language.
The Senate Parliamentary Committee further added that it cannot be denied that good language skills in English are required to cater to Australian citizenship obligations. But the standard that is unattainable to many existing citizens should not be adopted.
The Committee also observed that increasing the waiting time for an immigrant to 4 years from existing 1 year is also worrisome. It is retrospective in nature. The committee has recommended that immigrants already possessing Australia PR must be permitted to apply as per the existing rules. These applicants must not be made to wait for additional three years, the Committee said.
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