Visa requirements Australia just got a little tougher. Foreign partners existing residents who want a permanent residence visa must soon have to pass an English language test. Australia's government says it is important that people prove a predetermined level English proficiency before they are granted a permanent visa. The prerequisite could be place the middle of 2021. Immigration Minister Alan Tudge said: "We will require an applicant and a sponsor to have met a functional level English or to have least made reasonable efforts to learn English." He said such efforts would entail 500 hours free English classes a government-run language programme.
The proposed requirement has stoked controversy Australia's parliament. Politicians critical the planned measure called the new language test "discriminatory" and "racist". They argue it targets people non-Western nations and their partners. A spokesman Australia's opposition party said: "English proficiency isn't a test someone's love." He said couples already faced an uphill struggle the application process and that the new requirement would add an "additional burden". An immigration expert said: "It certainly puts a lot pressure couples who've been hit hard by COVID. Many them have lost their jobs and now they've got this added burden to pass an English test."