Melbourne: Australia yesterday announced tougher citizenship laws for new applicants, including higher English language skills and longer residency requirement, days after the government scrapped a popular visa programme used mostly by Indians.

Under the new reforms unveiled by PM Malcolm Turnbull, the applicants must be permanent residents for at least four years — three years longer than at present — and must be committed to embrace “Australian values”. The changes would abolish the current system that allows unlimited attempts to pass the citizenship test, imposing a two-year denial if an applicant failed three attempts, and automatic fail if caught cheating.