New change in Australian partner visa requires applicants to demonstrate fluency in English

Falling in love with an Australian? Be prepared to demonstrate a particular level of fluency in English, or at least be prepared to undergo 500 hours of English language classes.

A new change in the Australian partner visa will now require partner visa applicants to demonstrate a certain level of fluency in English. The provision does not discriminate between Australian Citizens and Permanent Residents, and aims to make favourable employment opportunities for migrants in a post coronavirus economy.

Acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge said 13 per cent of people with no English skills are in work compared to 62 per cent of those who are fluent English speakers.

The new change was announced on Tuesday’s federal budget, and later reiterated by Mr. Tudge. As per the new rule, which is likely to be implemented from the next year, the government will introduce an English language test for the person being sponsored for a visa to move to Australia to marry their partner. In case the sponsor is also a non-English speaking permanent resident, s/he too will have to demonstrate a certain level of fluency.

Primary Temporary Migrants were already required to demonstrate a certain level of fluency in the English language when applying for a residency – the new rules make it cumpulsory for their spouse/dependent to demonstrate a certain level of command over the English language too.

According to the government, applicants will not be expected to pass the English test before arriving in Australia under a two-year provisional visa, but will need to demonstrate functional English or show they have made reasonable attempts to learn before applying for a permanent visa.

Mr Tudge said “One way to demonstrate a committed attempt would be to complete 500 hours of free English classes through the Adult Migration English Program”.