The Australia government is planning to introduce English language requirement for partner visa applications. So, from the late 2021 onwards, applicants for Australian partner visa as well as their sponsors will have to demonstrate their English language skills to qualify. By introducing the English language requirement, the Australia government aims to maximize employment in the wake of coronavirus pandemic.
Why Australia is introducing English language requirement for partner visa?
SBS News quoted Alen Tudge, the acting Immigration Minister of Australia, as saying that the new migrants learning English language would give them best chance to get a job, the best chance of fully participating in the Australian society as well as ensure and support social cohesion.
He added that without English, it is difficult to get work and participate in every aspect of Australian society. It places women at more risk of domestic violence, because they might not have the ability to communicate and get the support they need.
The applicants need not pass the English test before arriving in Australia under a two-year provisional visa. But before applying for a permanent visa, they need to demonstrate functional English or that they have made reasonable attempts to learn the language. One way to demonstrate this attempt would be completing 500 hours of free English classes through the Adult Migration English Program. The Australian government expanded the program earlier this year so that new migrants have access to an unlimited number of classes.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a media briefing that the level of English required of partner visa applicants would be a “much more basic level of English language competency” than required of economic migrants, as those migrating under the skilled migration stream already need to meet language requirements. It is estimated that the new changes would save Australian government close to $5 million over the coming four years.
Australia has increased the cap for partner visas from 47000 to 72300 in the year 2020-21.
The country closed its borders on March 18 for everyone other than citizens, permanent residents, their immediate family members and those who have a special exemption, in the wake of coronavirus pandemic. The government expects that the COVID-19 vaccine would be available by the end of 2021, when the borders would be reopened.
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