Australia rejects proposed visa, citizenship curbs

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citizenship

MNA International Desk: Australia’s lawmakers have rejected legislation that would tighten citizenship and foreign worker visa rules, a blow to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull who had sought to stop a loss of his support base to far-right political parties.

In April, Turnbull said Australia would abolish a temporary work visa popular with foreigners and replace it with a new programme requiring better English-language and job skills. Turnbull also announced plans to raise the bar for citizenship by lengthening the waiting period and adding a new “Australian values” test.

But Australia’s senate, where Turnbull’s centre-right government does not enjoy a majority, rejected the proposal in a late vote on Wednesday, with opposition lawmakers insisting the rules were counter to Australian multicultural values.

The senate rejection may further drag on support for Turnbull, which, according to the widely watched Newspoll poll on Monday, languishes at its lowest level in more than two years, reported news agency.

The next election is not due until 2019, but continued poor polling could undermine Turnbull’s leadership.