Migrants to Australia face ‘fair dinkum’ English test

Image courtesy of Sanjeewa Dayarathne (www.Feedback.lk)

SYDNEY, Sept 15 (AFP) – Migrants to Australia would have to pass an English language test to prove they were “fair dinkum” (genuine) about fitting into society Down Under, Prime Minister John Howard said Friday. Howard also said the length of time migrants had to live in Australia before they could become citizens would be increased from three to four years, under changes to immigration rules.

Under the proposed changes, which will be officially unveiled in a government discussion paper Sunday, migrants will also have to demonstrate a knowledge of Australian history.

Howard, who has spoken at length in recent weeks about the need for Muslim migrants to integrate into Australian society, said people who genuinely wanted to fit in would have no problem with the government’s blueprint.

“Certainly we are going to lift the waiting period to four years, there will be a fairly firm English language requirement and the paper itself … will contain quite a number of issues,” he said.

“It won’t become more difficult if you’re fair dinkum, and most people who come to this country are fair dinkum about becoming part of the community.

“I think most people will welcome it. You’ll certainly need to kn