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English test for Aussie spousal visas

Australia’s federal budget in October included a surprise announcement that an English language test would be introduced for applicants for a “Subclass 300 Prospective Marriage” spousal visa.

This visa – which currently costs at least $8,000 and typically can take two years to process – allows the fiancé of an Australian to move there to marry their partner. There will also be an English test for the sponsor of a Prospective Marriage visa applicant if the sponsor is a non-English speaking permanent resident.

Federal budget documents promised that the move, “will help support English language acquisition and enhance social cohesion and economic participation.”

Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Andrew Giles, condemned the new test, which he said came, “without any warning, consultation or explanation,” adding that, “English proficiency isn’t a test of whether someone’s in love.”

Matt Salusbury
Matt Salusbury
MATT SALUSBURY, news editor and journalist, has worked for EL Gazette since 2007. He is also joint Chair of the London Freelance Branch of the National Union of Journalists and co-edits its newsletter, the Freelance. He taught English language for 15 years in the Netherlands, in Turkey, in a North London further education college and now as an English for Academic Purposes tutor, most recently at the London School of Economics. He is a native English speaker and is also fluent in Dutch.
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