Australia tightens citizenship rules, prescribes 'Australian values' test

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has tightened the country's citizenship rules in a further crackdown on immigration. This will be determined through extra questions in the test.

The new program will offer a two-year visa with a broader list of occupations, and a four-year visa with stricter requirements and a smaller job pool.

"We are putting jobs first, we are putting Australians first", Turnbull said. "These fundamental values is what makes us Australian... and our citizenship process should reflect that".

Senator Wong said it would be odd to ask whether people agreed with specific laws because new citizens commit to obeying all Australian laws when they make the citizenship pledge. "We must ensure our citizenship program is conducted in our national interest".

Two new visas with tougher entry requirements and measures to force Australian employers to advertise for local workers first would end the "rorting and rackets" that flourished under Labor, Mr Dutton said.

Mr Turnbull said that would encourage more people to learn the language, which was the "single best thing" a new migrant could do.

The measures will be introduced immediately, but those already holding 457 visas will be exempt from any changes.

"What we really need is a root and branch review, so that migrant exploitation and wage theft is properly tackled, and Australian standards are both maintained and improved".

She added, "One suspects that Malcolm Turnbull is having a much greater focus on Tony Abbott or perhaps One Nation than any real or substantive changes here".

Applicants from today will be required to have been Australian residents for four years instead of only 12 months and would be required to have spent no more than 12 months in total out of the country during that time.

Mr Turnbull rejected comparisons between his announcement and a move by United States president Donald Trump to tighten foreign worker visas in a "buy American and hire American" executive order.

"They're pointed at people who might think that domestic violence is okay".

Turnbull said that the applicants will also have to prove a higher degree of proficiency in English and pass a citizenship test to show they have "Australian values" and can integrate into the Australian society.

There are now more than 95,000 people in Australia on the 457 visa, the majority of from India, which accounts for nearly a quarter of the total intake, followed by the United Kingdom at 19.5% and China at 5.8%.

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