Australian Partner Visa Functional English Now Required

Australian Partner Visa Functional English Now Required - 2020 Australian Immigration News - July 2022

On Friday we wrote about the impact that the latest 2020 – 2021 Australia Budget will have on those looking to emigrate to Australia during the 2020 – 2021 Migration year. This covers the period running from July 2020 through to June 30 2021.

One of the bigger changes will impact those looking to apply for Australian residency under the Australian Partner Visa class. The new requirement will dictate that the applicant must have the ability to speak English at a ‘Functional’ level to migrate.

This means Australians who fall in love with non-English speaking foreigners will essentially be barred from bringing their partners into the country to be married if they do not speak a good level of English.

These changes will help support English language acquisition and enhance social cohesion and economic participation outcomes,” the budget papers said. The measure is estimated to save the government $4.9 million over the forward estimates. How it estimates this cost reduction, I’m really not sure!

It’s not all negative news for new Partner Visa migrants!

There is some reprieve for partner visa applicants and those who currently remain onshore and unaffected by the COVID-19 induced border closure.

The government will be prioritising onshore visa applicants and partner visa applicants where the

Australia Partner Visa Functional English Requirements
Australian Partner Visa Applicants will need to have Functional English to qualify for an Australian Visa

relevant sponsor resides in a designated regional area. While the focus on onshore applications was expected, the fact that partner visa applicants with sponsors in regional areas will get priority is good news!

Acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge revealed new details of the English language requirements, announced in last Tuesday’s Federal Budget, for people applying for partner visas.

The test also applies to an applicant’s spouse if they are a permanent resident rather than an Australian citizen.

“This will apply to prospective partner visa applications, from about the middle of next year,” Mr Tudge said.

“What this will mean is that we will require an applicant and a sponsor to have met functional level English or to have at least made reasonable efforts to learn English.

“And by reasonable efforts we mean for most people that would be doing about 500 hours of free English language classes.”

Are you impacted?

What are your thoughts? Does this change impact you at all? We always love to hear from our readers so please let us know in our comments below.


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  1. My English level is “Writer” level, with 20+ years exp on various niche , latest Technologies… During free time, I do write on various topics of my interest….

    1. Hi Raja, I’m unsure if ‘Writer’ level is a recognised classification when it comes to Australia Visa applications, however, writing regularly will certainly assist should you be planning to take an English examination in support of an Australia Visa Application in the future. Thank you for taking the time to comment!



  2. I totally agree that every person applying for residency should have the ability to speak functional English. If not, how would they apply for a job, how would they communicate with others in the community/society. Australia is an english speaking country, although multicultural, and clearly it is not discrimination, but if you want to migrate to an english speaking country, you must also consider speaking the language.

    1. what a hard line approach and shows your lack of any compassion . It depends on the situation and should not be enforced if , eg , a partner of fiancee of the sponsor is not intending to work and could learn the language much more easily in OZ where he or she would be going to lessons every week to become proficient in english language , For oldies it prevents them from ever living together in OZ . maybe you did not think it through before your harsh statement . I am 80 an an
      aussie citizen intending to return home soon now that covid allows me to !