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After visa changes, Australia is making it harder to become a citizen

Last year, nearly 4,000 Irish people became citizens.

Image: EMPICS Sport

AUSTRALIA IS TO make it harder to become a citizen, days after tightening visa rules.

Canberra this week announced it would axe the 457 temporary work visa, which entitles people to work in the country for up to four years once an employer sponsors them.

Today, the country’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced changes to the citizenship test, which nearly 4,000 Irish people passed last year alone. That number was just over 900 in 2009.

The moves came against a background of growing populist pressure and a resurgence of the anti-immigration One Nation party led by Pauline Hanson.

“We’re defined by commitment to common values, political values, the rule of law, democracy, freedom, mutual respect, equality for men and women,” Turnbull told reporters.

“These fundamental values are what make us Australian. Our citizenship process should reflect that.”

The changes include: competent English, belief in gender equality and a four-year qualification period.

Candidates for citizenship will be required to be permanent residents for four years against the current one-year period.

They will also need to demonstrate a job record and how they have integrated into the local community.

Some 114,109 people sat the Australian citizenship test in 2014-15, with 112,474 passing it, according to the latest immigration figures.

With AFP reporting

Read: Australia to axe the 457 temporary work visa

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