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Migrants, partner visa applicants to have more English learning opportunities in Australia

Acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge at Parliament House in Canberra Source: AAP

The acting minister for immigration, Alan Tudge, has introduced legislation allowing access to more free English classes. The minister also confirmed that from late 2021, new partner visa applicants and permanent resident sponsors will have to make sure reasonable efforts are made for applicants to learn English.

Acting Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs Alan Tudge has introduced the Immigration (Education) Amendment (Expanding Access to English Tuition) Bill 2020 in federal parliament. The bill will amend the Immigration (Education) Act of 1971, to provide greater access to free English language tuition for migrants to Australia.

Mr Tudge says in the 2016 census 820,000 people said they did not speak English well or at all, and about half of those were of working age.

 

He says changes to the bill take into account research that shows 510 hours is not a realistic time frame for most migrants to reach even a functional level of English and that people need more time to reach an acceptable level.

Mr Tudge said another measure is to provide the discretion for English courses to be delivered to people who are outside Australia and who have applied for or been granted a permanent visa, or a specified temporary visa.

Currently, this discretion only applies to people outside Australia who have applied for a permanent visa. It does not include people who have been granted a permanent visa, or persons who have applied for or been granted a temporary visa. This amendment will ensure that tuition options can be developed in the future for the delivery of English courses to people who are overseas, including after their visas have been granted, in preparation for their migration to Australia.

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