Submission on the Australian Citizenship Legislation (Strengthening Requirements) Amendment Bill 2017

The Australian Citizenship Legislation Amendment (Strengthening the Requirements for Australian Citizenship and Other Measures) Bill 2017 would introduce new requirements before people can obtain Australian citizenship, including a new English language test and changes to the period of residence. It also re-introduces previous measures that would increase the discretionary powers of the Minister for Immigration. This submission sets out the Refugee Council of Australia's key concerns about this Bill.
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Submissions to the proposed citizenship changes

In this submission to the Department of Immigration, RCOA expresses its deep concern at the changes to the test and requirements for Australian citizenship proposed in the Discussion Paper published on 20 April. The inclusive nature of Australian citizenship is a crucial element in the success of our multicultural society. Gaining citizenship should be an enabling, positive and welcoming process for applicants and one which is seen to contribute to building a cohesive and dynamic nation.
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Response to the proposed citizenship changes

In this submission to the Department of Immigration, RCOA expresses its deep concern at the changes to the test and requirements for Australian citizenship proposed in the Discussion Paper published on 20 April. The inclusive nature of Australian citizenship is a crucial element in the success of our multicultural society. Gaining citizenship should be an enabling, positive and welcoming process for applicants and one which is seen to contribute to building a cohesive and dynamic nation.
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Intake submission on Australia’s 2017-2018 refugee and humanitarian program

For more than 25 years, the Refugee Council of Australia has been gathering community views on the Refugee and Humanitarian Program. Every year, we conduct a series of consultations across the country to provide feedback to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection on the operation of this Program. In April 2017, the Department published a Discussion Paper inviting submissions on the Program. The Refugee Council of Australia provided its submission on 19 May 2017. Submissions are now closed.
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Submission on the status of the human right to freedom of religion or belief

The Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade is inquiring on the status of the human right to freedom of religion or belief. Our submission focused on the status of that right in relation to refugee communities and people seeking asylum, both overseas and in Australia. We highlighted the importance of that right for refugee communities, and examined in particular two cases of the persecution of religious minorities: the Muslim Rohingya in our region and religious minorities in Pakistan based on the country’s blasphemy law. Our submission also discussed the experience of freedom of religion or belief for refugee communities within Australia, including in detention facilities and in relation to wider public and policy debates.
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Alternative pathways to protection for refugees

It is increasingly recognised that the options for effective protection of refugees have not kept pace with the number of people who need protection. Traditional approaches to refugee protection have centered on one of three 'durable solutions' supported by the UNHCR. Increasingly, however, people are discussing alternative pathways for refugees to access safety and security, as well as expanding existing channels such as resettlement programs.
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