News 20 april — 20:27

Australia announces tougher new exams for citizenship

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The Australian government has announced plans to make it tougher for foreigners to obtain citizenship with applicants now having to undergo an "Australian values" test and take a higher level English-language exam, Al Jazeera reports.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnball made the announcement on Thursday, a week after he cancelled a work visa popular with foreigners and said he would replace it with an immigration policy that put "Australia First".

"Australian citizenship should be honoured, cherished," Turnbull told reporters in the capital, Canberra.

"I reckon if we went out today and said to Australians, 'Do you think you could become an Australian citizen without being able to speak English?' They'd say, 'You're kidding. Surely you'd have to be able to speak English.'"

Turnbull's center-right government has seen its approval rating take a nosedive in recent months with nationalist and anti-Islam parties seeing a surge in support.

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