Proposed changes to citizenship not good for business

Media releases

Diversity Council Australia (DCA) says proposed changes to citizenship process would not be good for business.

Australia’s only independent, not-for-profit workplace diversity & inclusion advisor to business in Australia has argued against proposed changes to Australia’s citizenship processes in a submission to a Senate Inquiry.

DCA says in its submission that business in Australia would be missing out on a great deal of talent if the Government went ahead with a number of the proposed changes in the Citizenship Bill.

Leading Australian businesses recognised the value that our rich multicultural and multilingual society provides, said DCA’s CEO, Lisa Annese.

“Migration has gifted Australia with a workforce that speaks over 300 languages and has a diverse range of skills and cultural competencies that leading organisations want.

“Organisations that effectively capitalise on the skills and talents of their culturally diverse workforces open up new business markets and can better understand and service an increasingly diverse client base,” said Lisa.

DCA is particularly concerned about the proposed language test in the Citizenship Bill.

“Employees working at our member organisation shared stories from their family’s migration experience with us. Australia would have missed out on a great deal of talent if the proposed language test was introduced previously. We don’t want to take that risk with future generations,” added Lisa.

DCA made the following key comments on proposed legislation in its submission:

  • Increasing the general residence requirement for permanent residents from one to four years could place an additional burden on people who have entered Australia on temporary work or humanitarian visas, and also be a deterrent to skilled permanent residents who may leave Australia, rather than wait for citizenship. Moreover, the retrospective nature of these proposed changes is deeply unfair and jeopardises Australia’s reputation as a destination of choice for global talent.
  • While DCA supports all Australians having a good grasp of English proficiency, we do not believe that an English language test is the best way to achieve this. Rather, DCA believes that investment in English language programs for migrants and refugees, as well as workplace programs to support inclusion, would be more conducive to achieving the desired goal of better enabling all citizens to fully participate in Australia’s social and economic activities.

Download DCA’s submission and read personal stories.

Download the full media release.

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