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29 January 2008
After welcoming 14,000 new citizens on Australia Day, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) published a snapshot of the first three months of the new Citizenship Test. The test was introduced in October 2007.
The results show that 93 percent of those who sat the test passed on their first or subsequent attempt. Only 82 percent passed on the first attempt. However, those applying for Australian citizenship can take the test as many times as needed to pass.
DIAC administered 10,730 tests to 9,043 people between 1 October 2007 and 31 December 2007. 43.8 percent of the test participants came to Australia under its various skilled migration categories, 21.6 percent came to Australia under family immigration, and 16.9 percent came to Australia under humanitarian immigration.
There was some controversy when the Citizenship Test was announced by the previous Howard government. Some felt that many people born in Australia would have trouble passing the test.
"The Government is confident that the citizenship test can play a valuable role in helping new citizens understand the rights and responsibilities of citizenship," said Senator Chris Evans, Minister for Immigration and Citizenship. "But we need to make sure that the test does not disadvantage those people who most need our support."
The government will be launching a review of the program in April 2008 to assess the results after six months of operation.
"Although feedback from participants to date has been positive, a range of concerns have been raised about the test and these will be addressed in the review," Evans said. "More work needs to be done to make sure the right questions are asked and there are no unintended barriers for people who wish to become Australian citizens."
DIAC will continue to publish results of the citizenship test on a monthly basis.