Would-Be Citizens To Face A New Test

Would-be citizens to face a new test

By Sarah Smiles
The Age (Melbourne)
May 9, 2007

THE Commonwealth has pledged $123.6 million to delivering a new citizenship test to be introduced this year.

It has set aside $209.2 million to increase support for refugees arriving through Australia's humanitarian visa programs.

The test, unveiled by the Howard Government last year, will quiz would-be citizens on the history, values and traditions of Australians. Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews said applicants would be given a booklet and audio-visual material to study for the test, which they will sit at centres across Australia.

“Many Australians would agree that citizenship is a privilege, not a right,” Mr Andrews said. “The introduction of a citizenship test will assist migrants to integrate successfully and maximise the opportunities available to them in Australia.”

The money will go towards funding an “Australian way of life booklet” and an “Australian values statement”.

“Permanent and long-term temporary visa applicants will be required to sign a statement that acknowledges they will respect the Australian way of life and abide by Australian laws before a visa will be granted,” he said.

The $209.2 million would be used to provide better support for recently arrived humanitarian entrants. This includes:

$127.8 million for English training for refugees; and

$35.2 million to provide complex case support.

$12.2 million will fund the Program of Assistance for Survivors of Torture and Trauma.

“Most humanitarian entrants arrive in Australia with no money, possessions or social networks,” Mr Andrews said.

“$5.3 million will subsidise rental and utilities costs in the first month after arrival.”