Australia Mulls New ‘Values Test’ for Immigrants

The proposed value test will be in addition to the planned English test that potential migrants would have to take in order to settle down in Australia.


The Australian government is considering the introduction of a new “values test” for immigrants seeking permanent residency in the country. The value test will be in addition to the proposed English test that potential migrants would have to take in order to settle down in Australia.

The test is being considered to protect Australia’s multicultural society, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said, the Guardian reported. The move is aimed at preventing the spread of disquiet among migrant communities that’s seen in some other countries, he said in Tasmania on July 20.

“We share those Australian values of democracy, freedom, the rule of law, respect for women, equality between men and women,” Turnbull said, according to “All of these values are vitally important and we must never, ever take for granted and we should always ensure that we maintain them because that is what creates this extraordinary, short and merrily successful multicultural society that we have.”

Turnbull’s comments follow the remarks made over the issue by Australia’s Citizenship and Multicultural Minister Alan Tudge at the Australia/UK Leadership Forum in London. “Our ship is slightly veering towards a European separatist multicultural model and we want to pull it back to be firmly on the Australian integrated path,” he said.

“Some of the challenges to social cohesion that we are facing today are similar to ones that the UK is facing – such as ethnic segregation and liberal values being challenged,” the Guardian quoted Tudge as saying. “If we want Australia to continue its multicultural success, we must take active steps now to ensure that social cohesion remains strong,” he added.

The new proposed test is certainly one of the issues under consideration, Turnbull said in Tasmania, adding that Australia is the most successful multicultural society in the world.

“One of the reasons we are is because we put an enormous amount of effort, in Australia, into integration, into ensuring that our form of multiculturalism is one where we can all benefit from the diversity of cultural and religious and ethnic backgrounds that Australians have,” he was  quoted as saying by the Guardian.

“This is a country where 28 percent of Australians were born outside of Australia, over half have a parent born outside of Australia – but isn’t it remarkable that we live together is so much harmony because of the values we share and those Australian values, of democracy, freedom, the rule of law, respect for women, equality between men and women,” he added.

The Turnbull government is also considering a mandatory basic English language requirement for all permanent resident immigrants. Any new test would be assessing “conversational” or “primary-school” level English, Turnbull said in Hobart on June 14. “Everyone should recognize that we all have a vested interest in being able to converse and engage in our national language,” he said.

Australia’s migrants increasingly first enter the country on temporary visas before transitioning to permanent residency. Permanent migrants are also increasingly coming through skilled routes, including employer sponsored pathways, according to a report, titled “Shaping a nation: Population growth and immigration over time,” released in April by the Australian Department of the Treasury, and Department of Home Affairs.

India tops the list of countries from where immigrants arrived and settled in Australia from 2000 to 2016. Almost 300,000 permanent migrants came from India to Australia during this period, with most of them arriving on skilled worker visas.

As many as 291,916 permanent migrants born in India arrived between 2000 and 2016, of which 154,012 individuals acquired Australian citizenship, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) last week.

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