Language Learning

Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services concerned about federal government changes to partner visa requirements | Bendigo Advertiser

By November 2, 2020 No Comments

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CHANGES to partner visa language requirements could lead to discrimination towards new migrants, a Bendigo support service says. The federal government announced from late 2021, new partner visa applicants and permanent resident sponsors would be required to have functional level English or to demonstrate that they made reasonable efforts to learn the language. Federal Immigration Minister Allan Tudge said the new measures would provide further opportunities for migrants and new citizens to “maximise their opportunities in Australia”. Read other news: Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services chief executive Rose Vincent said there were still questions around what constituted ‘functional English’. She said it was also unfair for the federal government to categorise migrants as unwilling or unmotivated to learn English. “Most people I know are extremely motivated,” Ms Vincent said. “My question is whether the way we’re teaching English is letting them down, rather than them being slack in some way or wanting to stay in the situation they are in. “This could have the potential for people who want to be racist to be racist. Laws like this can actually feed that negativity.” The federal government last week confirmed the 510-hour limit on free English classes would be removed so people could continue with the program until they reach a vocational level of English. Read more: Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services, council concerned some central Victorians are missing out on vital COVID-19 advice Ms Vincent said while reducing barriers to education was positive, the government needed to rethink how English was taught. “500 hours is not a magical amount of hours that make a difference,” she said. “It’s more about how they learn the language. “Whenever you learn a language, the best way is to learn the relevant English that you need – the level of English you can pick up by just volunteering, working, and interacting with the community. “What we’re finding in some of the programs we run is that it’s most effective when it’s around supporting a subject that the person is really passionate about and interested in.” Ms Vincent said it was important migrants were supported during the visa application process, not isolated further. “It’s just concerning there is another barrier people have to go through,” she said. “It’s another stress that’s added to an already stressful situation. Hopefully it’s judged on a case-by-case basis.” Have you signed up to the Bendigo Advertiser’s daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that’s happening in central Victoria.

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