New visa requirements for partners of Australian nationals
On 9th October 2020, the Australian government announced the introduction of an English language requirement for anyone applying for Australian citizenship, subject to approval from the Australian Parliament. Although there is already the requirement of proficiency in the English language for those on work and study visas, this will now apply to the foreign partners of visa applicants.
If this is passed as legislation, both visa applicants and their respective partners must take and pass an English language test from mid-2021 to enter Australia. Foreign partners can still enter Australia via the temporary visa route but will be required to pass Australia’s English language test should they wish to reside permanently in Australia.
Alongside this potential change in the Australian immigration policy, the visa fees for partner visa applications have also increased. Originally being $7,715.00 AUD, applications now cost an extra $420.00 AUD, generating $4.9 million AUD extra for Australia’s immigration department.
According to the acting immigration minister under Federal Government, Mr Alan Tudge, there are approximately 1 million people currently living in Australia who have little or a non-existent command of the English language. He also made the remark that this has a tremendous impact on social skills amongst citizens and working environments because of the limits on levels of communication.
With the prediction that there will be a significant drop in net overseas migration because of COVID-19, the visa fee increment is a means of providing added income for its immigration department.
Ultimately, this newly proposed English language requirement for foreign partners has been labelled as discriminatory and racist, accusing the government of trying to revive the White Australia policy that existed in the 1900s.
In a similar fashion, the shadow Labour party expressed that Australia is digressing back to 1950s, when the immigration of EU nationals was deliberately limited. Contradictorily, the Conservative government has campaigned for thorough English language testing for new migrants. This is based on reasons such as one fifth of the population speaking languages other than English at home, particularly in Melbourne and Sydney.
Should you have any queries regarding immigration into Australia or if you require legal assistance with your visa application, please get in touch with one of our professionals at Hudson McKenzie via email at email@example.com or by telephone +44(0)20 3318 5794.