The federal government’s plan to force people seeking a partner visa to learn English could leave them without a safety net from family violence, critics have said, despite the Coalition’s claim that the measure is aimed at protecting women.
The government announced in Tuesday’s budget that from late 2021 it would require partner visa applicants applying for permanency to have made “reasonable efforts” to learn English. The same test would apply to their permanent resident sponsors.
The acting immigration minister, Alan Tudge, said “reasonable efforts” could include taking 500 hours of the free adult migrant English program classes.
The government is boosting the number of partner visas available this financial year from just under 40,000 of the 160,000 overall visa cap to 72,300 in total. There will also be a new fee, with sponsors being charged $420 on top of the usual $7,715 partner visa application fee.
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