English test for permanent migrants

June 15, 2018

Migrants could face a primary-school level conversational English test as a requirement to becoming permanent Australian residents and citizens, a move which has been applauded by Conservative party leader Cory Bernardi.

Channel 9 reports Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said speaking English is the key to integrating in society and engaging with the economy and education.

"Everyone should recognise we all have a vested interest in being able to converse and engage in the national language," Mr Turnbull said on Thursday.

He said the initial goal of primary school-level English was reasonable, saying it was an obvious measure to help migrants achieve in Australia.

Citizenship Minister Alan Tudge said Australia could move to a locally designed test focusing on conversational English, rather than using international exams.

"We want people to be able to interact with one another, work together, play together and continue to contribute to Australian society."

Mr Tudge said he was concerned about the increase in non-English speakers in Australia, with the figure approaching one million.

He wants to avoid "parallel communities" developing, which he said were an issue in some European countries.

Senator Bernardi has told Ben Fordham on Sky News he thinks expanding the English language test requirement for migrants is a great idea.

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