Multicultural Council Pleas to Change the Onerus English Language Tests
Australian Multicultural Council has submitted a rejection plea to the senate against the implementation of the multiple choice English language tests for prospective citizens. According to the Council, how a candidate’s commitment to the shared values can be assessed by passing a high level proficiency tests?
In the submission, the Council mentions that “While recognising that the ability to communicate in English is clearly important to achieving integration, the council is concerned that the language test being considered by the government will adopt a standard that is too high and above that needed to achieve the aim of integration”.
The Council also said the introduction of English language tests may prove imperative to achieve the objective of integration in Australia, as the stricter requirements shall become a grave problem for the migrants coming from the weaker sections of the society, who may not have a strong educational background.
According to the council “An amendment that enables the minister to determine that a person who fails the test three times does not meet the eligibility requirements and should have their application refused is likely to disproportionally affect migrants from various visa and country groups, particularly humanitarian entrants.”
The government had the proposed the new citizenship guidelines in April this year. Defending the changes, the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Peter Dutton, said that these changes are made in the interests of the country and strengthen the commitment and values to the country. He has further said that this change is in the nation’s long-term security and cohesive interests.
“Australian citizenship is an extraordinary privilege and is a common bond which unites us all, whether we were born here or choose to make Australia our home,” Peter said.
“Australian citizenship involves a commitment to this country and its people. It is a privilege which should not be taken lightly.”
However, the Council has strongly criticised the changes and the English language tests have been referred as overly arduous by the migrant organisations, community groups, and by the opposition. They claim that implementing a challenging multiple choice English language test is a large dissappointment for all the wishful citizens and the permanent residents who have undergone the long wait of four years for obtaining the citizenship of Australia.
In the concluding note, the Council wishes to proclaim that the Government of Australia should portray a positive open hearted approach towards the aspiring citizens. To accomplish the successful integration of migrants into Australia very much lies with the government along with the migrants themselves.
The Council Chief Dr Sev Ozdowski AM, also wrote “Australia has always welcomed those who have travelled here to be a part of our wonderfully free and open society, to build better lives for themselves and their children and to contribute to this nation. It is important therefore that Australia, as a nation, not lose the opportunities that this openness allows, in its search to maintain national security.”
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection has still to comment on the questions put forward by the Multicultural Council’s submission.