Australian citizenship test goes into effect

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The new Australian citizenship test for permanent residents wishing to become Australian citizens commenced on 01 October 2007.

Unlike the United Kingdom, migrants applying for permanent residence under schemes such as General Skilled Migration and the family streams are not required to take the test.

The test, comprised of 20 multiple choice questions, is computer based and drawn from a resource booklet released by DIAC entitled 'Becoming and Australian Citizen'.

"We believe that it is important for new citizens to demonstrate that they have at least basic English and they understand the responsibilities and privileges of being an Australian citizen," said Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews.

"Australian citizenship provides for an overriding commitment to Australia, our laws, our values and our community. A citizenship test provides the means of ensuring that prospective citizens have such an understanding," he added.

According to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC), 33 people sat the test on the first day in Queensland and Victoria. Reports state that most applicants found the test to be easier than they expected, and that one person failed.

"Everyone's passed except for one person who got a high percentage but failed on one of the values questions," said a DIAC spokesperson. Final pass and fail figures for the first day are expected to be available soon.

74 more people are expected to sit the test the on 02 October 2007 at DIAC offices in Sydney, Adelaide and Perth.

"The pass mark for the test is 60 per cent, including answering correctly the three mandatory questions about the responsibilities and privileges of Australian citizenship," Andrews said.

"For those who have not passed the test, a print out of their results will give them information about their test results. This will help them to prepare to sit the test again. People can sit the test as many times as they need to in order to pass," he added.

The citizenship test is only for applicants 18 to 59 years of age. People with mental or physical handicaps that keep them from understanding the nature of their application will also not be required to sit the test.

Test sites will be located in all Australian capital cities and in major regional centers.