The Unsuitability of English Proficiency Tests as a Criterion for Citizenship

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Australian multiculturalism is a shining example to every nation on earth that it is possible to create a cohesive, vibrant prosperity by attracting and integrating migrants from all corners of the world to a nation which expects the respect of certain shared values from them but which promises respect for who they are when they come. This has been a tremendously successful paradigm shift in
Australia’s modern history, perfectly suited to the modern globalised world in which we must compete. 

In April 2017, the Australian Government proposed that aspiring citizens be required to sit an upfront English test to show that they are ‘competent’ in English before they can undertake the Australian citizenship test. The proposed requirement significantly changes current law whereby aspiring citizens need to undertake the citizenship test in English to prove that they have a level of ‘basic’ English.

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection states that competency in English can be shown by providing evidence that the applicant either is a citizen of certain English-speaking countries or has undertaken any of the five tests of IELTS, OET, TOEFL iBT, PTE Academic or Cambridge English: Advanced, and has achieved the minimum respective scores.

Currently, the Department requires at minimum:

  • A score of 6.0 in each of the four test components of an IELTS test, 
  • A score of ‘B’ in each of the four test components of an OET test, Scores of 12, 13, 21 and 18 in, respectively, listening, reading, writing and speaking in a TOEFL iBT test, or
  • A score of 50 in each of the four test components of a PTE Academic, or
  • A score of 169 in each of the four test components of a CAE test.

The proposed changes to the English language competency requirements will have a significant impact on the immigration of business migrants and migrants in receipt of family visas to Australia.

The new requirements will result in the elimination of many peoples from many lands not being able to meet the standard and it will have an impact on Australian Multiculturalism.

Citizenship is not in any way any new burden in terms of cost to the Australian community or governments. People whom will be affected are already living here and are presently benefiting from, as all Australian residents are entitled to benefit from, access to Medicare, public education and social security. Financially, it does not make sense to restrain such people from attaining citizenship.

We request the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection stops the process of introducing English Proficiency Tests as a requirement  for Australian Citizenship.



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