New English language requirements for skilled migrants

Date: Jun 16, 2011

English language standards for skilled migrants coming to Australia are set to become even tougher thanks to the introduction of a new language test from the beginning of next month.

The move to encourage more English-speaking skilled migrants to Australia has been hailed by one Melbourne University professor, who told the Herald Sun that it could have significant benefits for the country's "knowledge economy".

Professor Lesleyanne Hawthorne recently authored a report that suggested fewer than one in five skilled migrants comes from a major English-speaking nation - namely Canada, the United States, Britain or South Africa.

She said that current immigration trends are dominated by people from an Asian background where English is not the first language - such as India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and China.

Her report, which was prepared for the immigration department, compared Australia's migration system with that of New Zealand. While approximately 17 per cent of skilled migrants coming to Australia had an English-speaking background, the figure rose to nearly 50 per cent in New Zealand.

But this could change with the introduction of new skilled migration tests. The new system will see people applying on a points-based visa get extra points if they can demonstrate a high level of English language skills. Employer-sponsored migrants will also be given greater priority, she added.

"We will see a high proportion of our skilled migrants in the next few years from English-speaking backgrounds," Professor Hawthorne asserted.

"Employers … in the knowledge economy are picking people basically from OECD countries," she added.

Both employers and employees who are keen to learn more about the various options available for skilled migrant workers in Australia may wish to investigate the newly-launched blog on this topic from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC).

A departmental spokesman commented earlier this month that the publication aims to create more channels of effective communication with the Australian public and will explore a wide range of immigration issues.

If you are considering making an Australian visa application, a skilled migration lawyer can help you through every step of the process.

A trusted immigration lawyer can give you frank advance about the likely outcome of your case and help you determine which visa is the best option for you.

With their expert advice, your visa application has the best possible chance of being approved - and in the event of any unexpected issues, their legal background ensures you have plenty of support.