Australia’s latest decision to impose a language test as an immigration requirement for potential partner visas, starting from mid-2021, could leave couples separated.
Such concerns have been raised after the parliament of Australia announced that internationals who are in a relationship with Australian citizens could be barred from entering the country if they don’t know the English language, VisaGuide.World reports.
If the proposal is approved by the parliament, the English language test will become obligatory starting from mid-2021.
Internationals seeking to enter the country through the partner visa program will not be expected to pass the English test before arriving in Australia; however, they will be required to show that they have attempted to learn English before applying for a visa.
Australia’s government announcement is not being welcomed by multiculturalism advocates, labour, demographers. A large number of Australian citizens criticized the idea on social media.
However, Prime Minister Scott Morrison insisted that the requirement is “pro-migrant but also pro-Australia”.
Whereas, Australia’s acting minister for immigration, Alan Tudge, stressed that the recently imposed rule would not be an obstacle for internationals to enter the country. He revealed that from the next year, where the decision is planned to be set, internationals who fall in the partner visa program would be eligible to undergo 500 hours of free English language lessons if they do not have basic English proficiency.
“We will require an applicant and a sponsor to have met functional level English or to have at least made reasonable efforts to learn English,” Minister Tudge pointed out.
Based on some critics’ opinion, the latest Australian requirement is racist and targets persons from non-Western nations, together with their partners.
In this regard, shadow minister for multicultural affairs in Australia, Andrew Giles stressed that “English proficiency isn’t a test of someone’s love.”
Travel restrictions and entry bans are other problems with which couples in Australia are facing. Due to the current restrictions, citizens in Australia who are in a relationship with internationals have been stranded in different countries, for months now.
But the government, last month, announced that it would help to reunite the couples who remain separated due to the Coronavirus situation.