Canberra, Oct 19

An Australian government plan to overhaul its citizenship process has stalled after opposition parties on Thursday effectively blocked its Senate passage, the media reported.

The proposed bill would have made it harder to gain citizenship. It included requirements for applicants to have advanced English language skills and four years of permanent residency, reports the BBC.

Late Wednesday, a Senate deadline expired after Labor, the Greens and the Nick Xenophon Team signalled they would not support the bill in its current form.

Labor said a demand on applicants to pass university-level language tests had the potential to create an underclass of non-citizens.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said the government would negotiate with independents and minor parties on an amended bill, including possible changes to the requirements concerning English.

"We believe very strongly that the proposal we have put forward is moderate, it is sensible," the BBC quoted Dutton as saying on Thursday.

The government has argued the citizenship overhaul will ensure that migrants are better integrated and committed to Australian values.

 

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