| Published by Olivia McMillan, Emma Dunlevie, Sophie Bolzonello
The changes were first announced on 1 April 2017 by the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, The Hon. Peter Dutton, and applications lodged since that date have been on hold pending the passing of the Bill. Those applications will now be processed as usual.
The Government’s proposed changes included:
Minister Dutton indicated he may seek to reintroduce some of his proposed changes, however there are indications that any future proposals will not apply retrospectively and the requirement of “competent” English language will not be maintained.
In mid-July 2017, Minister Dutton announced that over 47,000 applications had been lodged since the changes were announced. The freeze on the processing of applications is likely to have created a backlog which will delay processing. At the time of writing, the Department’s guide to processing times indicates that 70% of applications for citizenship by conferral are decided within 10 months, and 90% in 14 months.
The defeat of this Bill will be particularly welcome news for people from refugee backgrounds and has been applauded by refugee, migrant and civil society groups who argued that the Bill was discriminatory, and likely to particularly impact on migrant women.