Australia has announced that internationals maintaining a relationship with an Australian citizen, will be ineligible to enter the country through the partner visa program if they do not know the English language, the country’s government has announced.

However, the federal government has promised that internationals will not be barred from entering, as a result of the new requirement, VisaGuide.World reports.

According to the acting minister for immigration, Alan Tudge, the recently imposed rule will not prohibit internationals from entering the country.

“The new budget measure would require foreigners applying to resettle with their Australian spouses from late next year to undergo 500 hours of free English language lessons if they could not demonstrate basic English language proficiency,” Tudge pointed out.

According to the change in this week’s federal budget, all internationals filling an application for partner visas will have to undergo an English language test, without any detailed explanations.

Tudge stressed that internationals keeping a relationship with an Australian citizen should be only required to fulfil a requirement to speak “basic conversational English”.

“We want people to be fair dinkum to have made an effort; we think it’s important to make an effort. This is about jobs, this is about participating fully in our democracy, and this is about social cohesion,” he said.

The new changes will be imposed in late 2021, according to the announcement.

Besides the English language, other obstacles for partners in Australia and worldwide are the imposed travel bans and entry restrictions which have left couples stranded in different countries.

However, last month, New Zealand’s government announced that it will attempt to reunite New Zealand and Australian partners that remain separated due Coronavirus pandemic, through new changes to the visa controls.

New Zealand’s Minister of Immigration Kris Faafoi stressed that the country is in a position to permit a small number of persons in NZ.

VisaGuide.World reported in April that nearly 90,000 temporary graduate visa holders in Australia had been trapped in the country without any financial support due to the COVID-19 situation.