In an important Senate debate which took place on October 18th, 2017, a regressive citizenship bill, The Australian Citizenship Legislation Amendment (Strengthening the Requirements for Australian Citizenship and Other Measures) Bill 2017, was finally struck off. The bill, among other things, proposed a longer waiting time for immigrants before they were eligible to apply for citizenship. Ever since the announcement to overhaul and toughen the Citizenship Law in April, migrants in Australia have been in a nervous state. The applications which were sent in before the announcement were all frozen, and would only continue (or not) based on the decision made about the bill.
Under the new law, the migrants would have to stay in Australia as permanent residents for four years instead of the current law, which demands only a year of residency. The immigrants would also be required to score six bands or more on the IELTS (International English Language Testing Systems) exam under the new draft. The government will have to bring in motion at a later stage, with a better draft, if they wish the law to be passed.
Migrants consider this a great victory but are demanding now for the immediate restart of the processing of citizenship applications. Numerous applications were apparently frozen when the announcement about the overhaul made in April, and these applications are to be processed now under the current citizenship law. The rejection of this bill is a significant step forward in a multicultural Australia, beneficial for immigrants and the country alike. The battle is not over yet, because even though this bill rejected, the immigration laws have gotten stricter recently, and all the citizenship applications will be processed under the new, stricter set of rules.
However, it is still a step and a victory for all those who wish to make a commitment to the country.