Source
MEDIA, JOBS & RESOURCES FOR THE COMMON GOOD
NEWS  |  Communities

Older Refugees Have Most To Lose From Citizenship Changes


Thursday, 20th April 2017 at 3:10 pm
Lina Caneva, Editor
People brought to Australia under the federal government’s refugee resettlement program have the most to lose from planned changes to the citizenship process, according to the Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA).


Thursday, 20th April 2017
at 3:10 pm
Lina Caneva, Editor


0 Comments


FREE SOCIAL
SECTOR NEWS

 Print
Older Refugees Have Most To Lose From Citizenship Changes
Thursday, 20th April 2017 at 3:10 pm

People brought to Australia under the federal government’s refugee resettlement program have the most to lose from planned changes to the citizenship process, according to the Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA).

RCOA chief executive officer Paul Power said the tougher English language requirements and the restrictions on the number of times an applicant can sit the citizenship test would most likely result in fewer former refugees seeking citizenship and more failing in their attempts to become citizens.

“The sad irony is that people who have come to Australia as refugees value the freedom and security associated with Australian citizenship more highly than any other group in the nation,” Power said.

“People who have experienced persecution and oppression have a much greater understanding of the importance of Australia’s freedom and democracy than those of us who have always lived in a free society.

“Some refugees are stateless and all others have lost the effective protection of their state of citizenship. It means so much to be welcomed to Australia and many people in this situation want to demonstrate their thanks to their new homeland by taking up citizenship as soon as possible.”

Power said that for decades, refugee and humanitarian entrants had sought citizenship at higher rates than any other category of migrants.

“However, this wish to become an Australian citizen has been undermined by a citizenship test process which sees much higher failure rates for former refugees than applicants who have come on migration visas,” he said.

Power pointed to Department of Immigration and Border Protection statistics that show that in 2014/15 the citizenship test failure rate for refugee entrants was 8.8 per cent, six times higher than the average of 1.4 per cent. The average number of citizenship tests attempted by refugee applicants was 2.4, double the average.

He said a 2008 review of the citizenship test, led by retired ambassador Richard Woolcott, warned against a testing regime which was intimidating and discriminatory.

“The review highlighted the importance of special consideration for refugee and family migration entrants who have had disrupted or limited formal education and are struggling to learn English as adults,” Power said.

“While the majority of refugee and humanitarian entrants are children and young people who typically learn English quickly, those brought to Australia as refugees include some older adults, torture survivors and people with disabilities who struggle to master English. These are the people who are most likely to miss out on citizenship under the changes being planned by the government.”

Vinnies Tweet

The prime minister announced the policy changes on Thursday saying he would “strengthen Australian citizenship by putting Australian values at the heart of citizenship processes and requirements”.

“Our reforms will ensure applicants are competent in English, have been a permanent resident for at least four years and commit to embracing Australian values,” Turnbull said.

“Membership of the Australian family is a privilege and should be granted to those who support our values, respect our laws and want to work hard by integrating and contributing to an even better Australia.

“We must ensure that our citizenship program is conducted in our national interest.”

The reforms will include:

  • requiring all applicants to pass a stand-alone English test, involving reading, writing, listening and speaking;
  • requiring applicants to have lived in Australia as a permanent resident for at least four years (instead of one year at present);
  • strengthening the citizenship test with new questions that assess an applicant’s understanding of – and commitment to – shared values and responsibilities;
  • requiring applicants to show the steps they have taken to integrate into and contribute to the Australian community, with examples including evidence of employment, membership of community organisations and school enrolment for all eligible children;
  • limiting the number of times an applicant can fail the citizenship test to three (at present there is no limit to the number of times an applicant can fail the test); and
  • introducing an automatic fail for applicants who cheat during the citizenship test.

The government said the new requirements would apply to all new applications for Australian citizenship.


Lina Caneva  |  Editor |  @ProBonoNews

Lina Caneva has been a journalist for more than 35 years, and Editor of Pro Bono Australia News since it was founded in 2000.

Optus

FEATURED SUPPLIERS


Fifty Acres is Australia’s leading communications and gove...

Fifty Acres – The Communications Agency

We are a premium Event Production agency with over 16 years ...

Vanilla Bean Events

Established in 1998, StreetFleet is a 100% Australian owned ...

Streetfleet

NGO Recruitment is a highly specialised provider of recruitm...

NGO Recruitment

More Suppliers

Get more stories like this

FREE SOCIAL
SECTOR NEWS

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

NFP Six-Point National Housing Affordability Plan

Lina Caneva

Wednesday, 26th April 2017 at 2:42 pm

The Key to Getting Life Back on Track

Wendy Williams

Monday, 24th April 2017 at 8:58 am

Affordable Housing Industry Has Capacity But Lacks Government Certainty

Lina Caneva

Thursday, 20th April 2017 at 11:29 am

Donation Point Tap Wins Award for Social Design

Staff Reporter

Thursday, 20th April 2017 at 8:15 am

POPULAR

Family Rejection Major Cause of LGBTI Homelessness – Report

Lina Caneva

Tuesday, 18th April 2017 at 3:43 pm

New Standard for Employing People with Mental Health Issues

Wendy Williams

Friday, 21st April 2017 at 3:44 pm

NDIA to Appeal Disability Transport Ruling as Test Case

Lina Caneva

Wednesday, 19th April 2017 at 10:12 am

Calls for Action as Youth Mental Illness on the Rise

Wendy Williams

Wednesday, 19th April 2017 at 7:00 am

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Source
pba inverse logo
Subscribe Twitter Facebook

Pro Bono News

Charity and not-for-profit news delivered directly to your inbox twice a week. Stay up to date with the latest news from the country’s most valuable sector.

You have Successfully Subscribed!