The Morrison Government is making it easier for new migrants to learn and improve their English language skills by increasing the number of available hours through the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP).
We are also making the program more flexible so there are more opportunities and ways for more people to learn English.
From today, migrants in Australia will be able to access more than the current standard 510 hours available through the AMEP.
Better English language skills improve a person’s chance of getting a job, helps them be more involved in the community and lets people fully participate in our democracy.
Only 13 per cent of those with no English skills are in work compared to 62 per cent of those who speak English well.
As we face unprecedented challenges, English is also important for our social cohesion.
Recognising how important English language is in Australia, the Government spends $250 million a year into English language programs to support up to 60,000 enrolments a year.
Currently people only complete about 300 hours of the 510 available and only 21 percent leave with a functional level of English.
The classes are not compulsory and while we may consider additional incentives for people to take up classes in the future, there are no new requirements to be tested, or achieve a certain level of English.
Australia has changed a lot in the past 70 years with the number of Australians born overseas rising from 10 per cent to around 30 per cent today.
We also have more people migrating from countries whose native languages are more linguistically distant from English, meaning it is likely harder for them to learn English
These changes will mean that more migrants will be able to access free English tuition, for longer, and until they reach a higher level of proficiency.