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Australia unveils tougher citizenship laws after scrapping 457 visa program

Australia unveils tougher citizenship laws after scrapping 457 visa program

Mr Turnbull dismissed the question as cynical, adding that the vast majority of Australians were pleased to see politicians "standing up for Australian values".

Australia has announced plans to put "Australian values" at the heart of tougher requirements to gain citizenship, including competent English, belief in gender equality and a four-year qualification period.

Applicants must also have completed four years as a permanent resident - three years longer than at present. - 'What are Australian values?' - ================================= Some 114,109 people sat the Australian citizenship test in 2014-15, with 112,474 passing it, according to the latest immigration figures.

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.

"Our initial assessment is that the move should not have a major impact on visas granted to Indian IT workers as the 457 visa category covered a lot of fields and was hard to manage", Nasscom said. Australian PM Turnbull had told the media that while it was true that Australia was a nation of immigrants but the Australian workers must be given priority for jobs.

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The changes are due to take effect from Thursday, but they will have to pass both houses of Parliament, opening a fresh political fight with the Labor opposition and crossbenchers.

Mr Turnbull said the changes would ensure that migrants were better integrated into the community.

"This is about allegiance and commitment to Australian values".

"Let's remember that these (domestic violence) are criminal acts that are proscribed by Australia's criminal law".

Unveiling the changes, Turnbull stressed that Australian citizenship was a "privilege" that should be "cherished".

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Allowing applicants to apply only three times, and automatically failing anyone who cheats on a test.

Mr Dutton said Australians "shouldn't be embarrassed to say we want great people to call Australia home".

He said: "If we believe that respect for women and children and saying no to violence.is an Australian value, and it is, then why should that not be made a key part, a fundamental part, a very prominent part, of our process to be an Australian citizen?"

Now 95,758 people are in Australia on a 457 visa.

The move comes after Australia announced it would abolish the popular 457 work visa used by over 95,000 foreign workers- a majority of them Indians - to tackle the growing unemployment in the country and replace it with a new programme requiring higher English-language proficiency and job skills.

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