Two days ago, I was somewhat cynical of Malcolm Turnbull’s proposed changes to the 457 visa program, with the move resembling a short-term political stunt.
Regardless, Turnbull’s ambition to establish himself as an ‘Australia First’ Prime Minister has continued, with his government proposing tougher citizenship tests for aspiring migrants, which would more stringently assess English competency and the presence of ‘Australian values’.
Whilst this is likely a political move aimed at countering populist momentum fostered by One Nation, I welcome these changes.
Australia is a small country of 26 million people, and we have 7 billion other humans from which to choose.
As we can’t practically admit all of those 7 billion humans into our nation without being overrun, why wouldn’t we take steps to ensure that new migrants to Australia are among the best and finest?
Personally, I would prefer to see larger steps taken towards ensuring the character of would- be migrants however, Malcolm Turnbull finds himself the right track.
Sydney Morning Herald, by James Massola, April 20, 2016:
Would-be Australians will face tough new hurdles – including a new English language and “Australian values” test – and have to wait several more years before being eligible for citizenship, under a major shake-up of the migration program.
Migrants could be asked whether they support female genital mutilation and forced marriages, or whether it’s acceptable to strike a spouse at home, under proposed values-based citizenship test questions to be put to the public for feedback.
Tough new citizenship hurdles introduced by the Turnbull government will test applicants language skills, analyse their criminal history and require four years of permanent residency.
Applicants will also have to demonstrate they have attempted to integrate into Australian society, providing evidence of a job, the enrolment of their children in school, and even membership of community organisations.
Under the current system, migrants enter Australia on a range of visas. They can then become permanent residents but have to wait a further year before applying for citizenship. The one-year wait will rise to four years under the redesigned scheme.
The new measures are the second tranche of changes to Australia’s immigration system in less than a week. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Immigration Minister Peter Dutton announced the 457 foreign worker visa program would be axed and replaced by an “Australians first” approach to skilled migration….