Fail rates for Australian citizenship test surge

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The number of people aspiring to become Australian citizens who fail the country’s test has increased significantly since the country’s governing Labor Party came to power in May 2022, new data revealed on Wednesday. According to the data published by News Corp Australia, of the 288,603 people who took citizenship tests between the May 2022 general election and August 2023, more than 101,000 failed a rate of 35 per cent, reports Xinhua news agency.

By comparison, between 2017 and 2021, only 21 per cent of the 684,208 tests that were administered were failed. Eligible people who undertake the Australian citizenship test are asked 20 multiple-choice questions about the country, including five about the nation’s values. To pass, a person must answer all five Australian values questions correctly and get an overall mark of at least 75 per cent.

In the former coalition government in September 2020 revamped the test, adding the national values questions and placing a stronger emphasis on English language skills for potential citizens. Failing the test does not affect a person’s permanent visa or residency status but they can be denied citizenship after three failed attempts. Andrew Giles, Minister for Immigration, told News Corp on Wednesday that the government would continue to review the test to ensure the system is fair, efficient and inclusive.

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“The government recognises that Australia is a country built on citizenship. We will continue to assess the citizenship test to ensure that it meets community expectations,” he said. To be eligible for Australian citizenship a migrant must have been living in the country on a valid visa for at least four years and not been absent from the country for more than a total of 12 months in the previous four years, and no more than 90 days in the previous 12 months, before applying.

In December 2023, Giles had released a new migration strategy following a comprehensive review of the immigration system, outlining a plan to streamline permanent residence and citizenship pathways for migrants.