The Australian federal government is set to overhaul its English language program for migrants in order to prepare them better for employment opportunities and cultural cohesion.
Alan Tudge, the acting Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, announced changes brought to the billion-dollar Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) would include removing the eligibility time limit of five years and lifting caps on class hours.
As a result of these changes, newcomers will be able to access free English classes and hone their proficiency to a functional level to better participate in Australian society and improve their chances of being successful in employment opportunities.
Speaking about the changes, Mr Tudge cited migrants not being able to integrate properly to Australian society and being less likely to participate in Australian democracy as crucial factors.
Australia’s English language program is currently offered by service providers all over the country, with migrants getting 510 hours of free language tuition.
However, participants of the program are only completing 300 hours of their allotted total, resulting in them having less than functional English capabilities, according to Mr Tudge.
He also said that estimates show around one million people in Australia currently lack adequate proficiency in English, which severely hampers community cohesion and potential employment opportunities.