New citizenship policies emphasize 'Australian values'

By Mike Bambach   |   April 20, 2017 at 2:14 AM
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April 20 (UPI) -- Australia will make it more difficult to gain citizenship, announcing stringent policies Thursday that emphasize "Australian values."

The new requirements include a ­higher-standard English language test, belief in religious freedom and gender equality and a four-year residency period -- three years longer than present.

"We're not defined by race or religion or culture, as many other nations are," Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told reporters. "We're defined by commitment to common values, political values, the rule of law, democracy, freedom, mutual respect, equality for men and women."

Applicants also must provide evidence of integration into the community, including employment history, school enrollment or membership of community organizations.

"These fundamental values are what make us Australian," Turnbull said. "Our citizenship process should reflect that. "It is important that they understand that they are making a commitment to our Australian values."

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

The move comes two days after Australia unveiled stricter visa requirements for skilled workers from overseas.

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