Jesuit Social Services welcomes the opportunity to put forward our views to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee inquiry on the Australian Citizenship Legislation Amendment (Strengthening the Requirements for Australian Citizenship and Other Measures) Bill 2017.

In our submission we call for a number of amendments to the bill to ensure that citizenship remains an achievable prospect for vulnerable migrants. In particular, we recommend improvements to the English language requirement, as well as the removal of several items designed to restrict eligibility for sitting the Citizenship test, extend the ‘good character’ requirement to children, and diminish the independent oversight of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

We consider that these changes must be accompanied by a meaningful commitment to strengthening social cohesion, in addressing systemic barriers to the full participation of vulnerable migrant groups in the Australian community. Our submission highlights a number of alternative initiatives for promoting social cohesion and recommends improved access to English language classes, workplace inclusion programs for vulnerable migrants and proactive restorative justice and intervention responses to migrant offenders.

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Download our submission to the inquiry on the Australian Citizenship Legislation Amendment Bill 2017