01 August 2007

Australian visa applicants to be asked about values

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Anyone applying for an Australian visa could be asked to complete a "values" statement to ensure they will be able to adequately integrate into the country's culture.

From October, applicants could be forced to sign a statement setting out a willingness to adopt Australian attitudes and traditions and this will be used to assess their suitability for a visa alongside their English skills and their knowledge of Australia and its laws.

Immigration minister Kevin Andrews believes the approach could form a key part of the country's new integration policy which is due to be fully introduced in February.

"In defending Western culture we should be unapologetic in requiring migrants to make a commitment to our way of life," Mr Andrews said in a speech to the Sydney Institute.

He added: "We cannot assume that the capacity of all of our potential migrants to integrate successfully is the same as their predecessors."

Mr Andrews also explained that Australia's core values included freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of association, equality of men and women, peacefulness and compassion for those in need and that it was vital than visa applicants show a commitment to upholding such attitudes.

Anyone applying for an Australian visa should begin by taking Visa Bureau's online assessment to see if they meet the basic legislative requirements.

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