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Changes to the Adult Migrant English Program

On 29 October 2020, the Hon Alan Tudge MP, the Acting Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, introduced legislation that will allow more migrants to access more free English language classes, so they can achieve a higher standard of English and have the best chance to succeed in Australia.

The Immigration (Education) Amendment (Expanding Access to English Tuition) Bill 2020 will make English tuition more accessible, ensure better quality outcomes and encourage greater participation.

The 510-hour limit on classes has been removed and people will be able to continue with the program until they reach a vocational level of English. Also, if a person arrived in Australia on or before 1 October 2020, the time limits on enrolling, commencing and completing tuition will be waived so even those who have been here for some time can access the classes.

How these classes are delivered will also change and may include better use of technology, online classes and on-the-job learning.

From late 2021, new partner visa applicants and permanent resident sponsors will be required to meet English language thresholds and make reasonable efforts to learn English, if they don’t already have functional English. Completing these English classes will be enough to demonstrate they have complied.

At present, only 13 per cent of those with no English skills are in work compared to 62 per cent of those who speak English well. Migrants with no English skills are also more vulnerable to fall victim to foreign interference and misinformation and will likely find it harder to seek help if they are a victim of family violence or exploitation.

Based on recent trends there is close to a million people in Australia who do not speak English well or at all – with about half of those being of working age.

Migrants who want to learn or improve their English should contact their local AMEP training organisation to find out about their eligibility and access to English classes. Our migration staff at Bell Legal Group are also available to help.




If you have any queries regarding this article or need legal assistance please call us on 07 5597 3366 or fill out the ‘Contact Us‘ form at the bottom of the page.

Please note that this article has been prepared by Bell Legal Group, for information purposes only. It is not legal advice nor should it be relied upon as such.