• File image of Immigration Minister Peter Dutton (AAP)
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton called Labor’s claims smokescreen.
Mosiqi Acharya

21 Jun 2017 - 5:13 PM  UPDATED 22 Jun 2017 - 10:06 AM

As the debate about citizenship rages on, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has said that Labor party's claims about the government proposing 'university-level' English requirement is nothing but a smokescreen.

The Labor Party on Tuesday rejected the federal government's planned changes to Australian citizenship.

Labor's caucus met on Tuesday morning to discuss its response to proposed changes, and citizenship spokesman Tony Burke said the decision to reject the changes was unanimous.

Labor strongly opposed the introduction of a new stand-alone English test, set at a more difficult level.  Tony Burke said there is no need for new citizens to achieve the level of English required by some universities.

"A very large number of Australians will never reach the level of English that's being demanded by this test," says Burke. "A very large number of people who are born here will never reach the level of English in this test. What sort of snobbery leads a Government to say, 'Unless you reach university level of English, we'd rather you weren't here.'"

6 new requirements to acquire Australian citizenship
The package of reforms will apply to applications received on or after the Government’s announcement on 20 April 2017.

However, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton called Labor’s claims nothing more than a smokescreen.

In a media release he said, “Labor's claims that the Citizenship legislation currently before the Parliament will require applicants to have a "university" level of English language skills is nothing more than a smokescreen.”

He further adds, “Contrary to Labor's false claims, the IELTS Academic test is not required for migration or citizenship purposes.

“The General Training test is accepted.

“Level 6 of the General stream focuses on "basic survival skills in broad social and workplace contexts."

While saying the Coalition makes no apology for asking aspiring citizens to develop English language skills which was in their own best interests and the interests of the cohesion and prosperity of our nation, he demanded Labor explain why it opposes legislation that most ‘Australians would consider perfectly reasonable’.


IELTS General Training

The IELTS General Training test is for those who are going to English speaking countries for secondary education, work experience or training programs. It is also a requirement for migration to Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK. The test focuses on basic survival skills in broad social and workplace contexts.

IELTS Academic

The IELTS Academic test is for people applying for higher education or professional registration in an English speaking environment. It reflects some of the features of academic language and assesses whether you are ready to begin studying or training.

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