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28 Aug 2020

Media releases

SSI welcomes government’s expansion of English language program

Settlement Services International welcomes the Federal Government’s announcement today that it will expand access to the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP).

In a National Press Club address, Acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge said among new measures to enhance social cohesion the government would remove the cap of 510 hours of free language tuition, allow students to strive for “vocational English” rather than only “functional English”, and remove time limits for enrolment and completion.

He said, “From today, this means that any permanent resident or citizen who doesn’t yet have functional English — that is, the basic language skills to enable participation in society — will be able to attend classes free of charge until they acquire this language capability.”

SSI CEO Violet Roumeliotis said, “Foundational language programs such as AMEP beget benefits such as long-term employment outcomes and increased social participation.

“As a community-based organisation supporting new migrants and other vulnerable communities who often grapple with the English language, we wholeheartedly agree with the government’s swift changes to the program. We share the belief that the policy will further strengthen Australia’s resolve and success in the settlement and integration of migrant communities.”

Ms Roumeliotis said, “Australia’s high ranking under the Migrant Integration Policy Index, at eight of 38 participating countries, is global recognition of Australia’s success in the settlement and integration of migrant communities, and this change in policy will further strengthen this capacity.

“We welcome any move that will further enhance social cohesion for new migrants and lead to better settlement outcomes, especially during these unprecedented times.”

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