Australian Parliament toughens citizenship eligibility rules

Australian Parliament toughens citizenship eligibility rules
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First Published: Fri, Mar 02 2007. 12 30 AM IST
Updated: Fri, Mar 02 2007. 12 30 AM IST
AP
Canberra: Immigrants can have their Australian citizenship applications vetoed by the national spy agency under tough new laws passed by the Parliament on 1 March.
The new laws also double the time immigrants must live in Australia before they can become citizens to four years.
The legislation gives a new veto power to the Australian Security and Intelligence Organization, the nation’s top spy agency better known as ASIO, enabling citizenship applications to be refused to anyone considered a national security risk.
The changes also enable the government to revoke a new Australian’s citizenship if it were obtained by fraud.
The law also raises the age at which immigrants become exempt from a basic English language test for citizenship from 50 to 60 years.
Citizenship Minister Kevin Andrews told the Parliament the amendments “represent major improvements in the legislation which has served us well over the years but needs to better meet the challenges of the 21st century”.
The changes come amid public outrage about overseas-born radical Islamic leaders who gain Australian citizenship despite preaching against Australian society.
More debate on citizenship will take place in the Parliament later this year when the government attempts to further tighten citizenship rules by requiring immigrants to pass general knowledge tests about Australia.
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First Published: Fri, Mar 02 2007. 12 30 AM IST