09 May 2008

Australian migrants told to brush up on country's values

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A recent report revealed the need for Australian visa holders to focus on their understanding of the principles of Australian society when taking the citizenship test. Figures from the government showed that over ten per cent of immigrants who took the test fail on questions concerning the country’s values.

Passing the 20 question citizenship test is required for any Australian immigration residents looking to gain citizenship, with the standard pass rate being 60 per cent. However, the test also includes a number of questions which focus specifically on Australian values, with questions based on issues like the equality of men and women, jury duty and the freedom of religion. These questions are vital to the test, as candidates must also correctly answer at least three of the Australian values specific questions in order to pass.

Recent figures initially seemed promising, with almost 95 per cent of Australian visa holders taking the citizenship test passing it either the first or second time. However, the latest government statistics show that 1,193 of the 9,043 of the candidates who took the test in the last three months of 2007 failed first-time around due to the questions about basic Australian values.

Senator Chris Ellison, the opposition immigration minister, said that people applying for immigration to the country must realise the importance of freedom of speech, religion and association, among other issues. Tom Blackett, Official Spokesperson for the Australian Visa Bureau, said: "The news also comes as a reminder of the complexities Australian immigration. While meeting the basic Australian visa requirements is a good first step on the path to gaining citizenship, having an experienced migration agent can be vital in helping you understand what Australia expects of new migrants."

Australia needs skilled workers: Anyone applying for an Australian visa should begin by completing the Australian Visa Bureau's online Australian visa application to see if they meet the Australian visa requirements.

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