Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs Minister Alan Tudge
Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs Minister Alan Tudge

How migrants are rorting citizenship test

WOULD-BE Aussies exploiting loopholes in the citizenship process to become dinky-di Australians, with one migrant failing the test 20 times last year before finally passing.

There are fears within the Home Affairs Department that some migrants seeking citizenship are simply rote learning answers to the multi-choice test by taking it multiple times, splashing out thousands of dollars to do so.

It is understood Cabinet is preparing new legislation to crack down on the people working the system.

One new Queenslander failed the test 20 times in 2017, more times than anyone else in the country, forking out $5700 to repeatedly resit the exam in the process.

But there were nearly 1000 people who failed the test between five and 20 times last year, including 14 who failed it more than 15 times.

It includes two people, including one from NSW failing it 19 times, and four people in South Australian and Victoria that failed it 18 times.

More than 74,000 people passed the test on their first attempt.

In October the Senate blocked a Federal Government plan to block people from taking the citizenship test for two years if they failed it three times, as well as including an English language test.

Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs Minister Alan Tudge
Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs Minister Alan Tudge

The multiple-choice test is currently the only way to test a new-Australian's English proficiency.

It's understood there is a submission before Cabinet for a revised plan to update the citizenship process.

It will be based on the initial Bill put up by then Immigration Minister Peter Dutton and include an English language test component, but it will be altered from the proposal shot down.

Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs Minister Alan Tudge said the original test was introduced as a way of assessing people's understanding of Australia's systems and way of life.

"If people are just rote learning lit, then it defeats the purpose of the test," he said.

"We will be looking at this as we want new citizens to understand our system and have the best opportunity to contribute."

To pass the test, an applicant has to correctly answer 15 out of 20 multiple choice questions, drawn from a pool of 75 questions.

There was controversy of the citizenship tests changes proposed last year, including that the level of English required was too high.