Coalition mulls basic English test for permanent migrants

By Leith van Onselen

The Australian reports that the Turnbull Government is considering a basic English test for all new permanent migrants amid concerns that by 2021, more than one million ­people in Australia could have ­little or no English skills:

The move to consider mandating English language tests beyond citizenship applicants and apply a basic conversational language requirement to all new permanent residents — of whom there are more than 200,000 a year — will be flagged today by Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs Minister Alan Tudge as a move aimed at addressing concerns over social integration.

It follows warnings this year that Australia is at risk of drifting towards the European model of multiculturalism, where “parallel” communities have emerged.

An absence of English language skills among migrants and asylum-seekers has been cited in research as being one key driver of social fragmentation. Analysis of census data shows that, on current growth rates, Australia will be home to one million people who do not speak English or don’t speak English well by 2021…

The government will also consider redrafting its citizenship laws, which are blocked in the Senate, to soften the proposed proficient English language tests for citizenship, instead applying a broader conversational language skills test.

This is unambiguously good policy from the Government.

The recent report from Dr Bob Birrell from the Australian Population Research Institute revealed that only 24% of recently arrived skilled migrants from non-English speaking backgrounds were employed as professionals as of 2016, compared with 50% of skilled migrants from Main English-Speaking-Countries and 58% of the same aged Australian-born graduates:

The Productivity Commission’s Migrant Intake into Australia report also noted “the fundamental importance of strong English-language skills for an immigrant’s integration and wellbeing in Australia” and explicitly recommended “significant reforms within the current system” and “‘raising the bar’ by shifting to a universal points test while tightening entry requirements relating to age, skills and English-language proficiency”.

In principle, it makes perfect sense for prospective migrants to be required to speak and read English. It is Australia’s national language and being able to understand and effectively communicate in English is central to integrating into the broader community, gaining employment, as well as to fulfill the responsibilities of residency.

That said, while improving English-language proficiency is worthwhile, the Turnbull Government has refused to address the more fundamental issue of Australia’s migration level being far too high. It is this high intake that is causing widespread indigestion in the major capitals via crush-loading economic and social infrastructure (e.g. the road and public transport systems, schools and hospitals), making housing less affordable, not to mention damaging Australia’s natural environment and diluting Australia’s mineral wealth.

It is also this excessive migrant intake (both permanents and temporaries) that is contributing to the oversupply in Australia’s labour market, in turn undermining workers’ bargaining power and maintaining downward pressure on wages.

Unless the migrant intake is normalised back towards historical levels, population pressures and resentment will continue to grow within the electorate, ultimately leading to a voter backlash against immigration.

Mandating English language proficiency is all well and good, but what Australia really needs is a lower more sustainable migrant intake.

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Comments

  1. By 2021 little to no English skills?, that happened 40 years ago, that’s why they spell beer XXXX

  2. surflessMEMBER

    Just another bloody furphy, to feed tabloid newspapers and television. Must be an election year, as this is the standard formula LNP used prior to election, fear uncertainty and doubt, flag attacks on immigrants and welfare.

  3. Ronin8317MEMBER

    While language proficiency test is a good idea, it was also how the White Australia policy was implemented. First implemented at 1901, the test was in English, Italian or French. When some Chinese still passed, they switched to any of the 50 European language, so that no one has ever passed the test from 1909 onward.

    http://www.migrationheritage.nsw.gov.au/exhibition/objectsthroughtime/immigration-restriction-act/index.html

    Furthermore, you can still be a permanent resident without knowing one single phrase in English, so focusing on citizenship test is just another dog whistle.

  4. Good, it’s key to integration and a step towards cleaning up the many problems with our migration program.

    ‘Muh dog whistling’ is rubbish. Sure, I support gutting the entire intake to around 30k a year which isn’t going to happen but there’s a whole lot else we can tighten up around the program as well. It needs more than just a cut.

    High quality, low volume migration not the other way around.

    • drsmithyMEMBER

      It is dog whistling. Transparently so. It’s playing to the “scary coloured people I can’t understand” meme.

      If the rules were instead being changed to require, say, a pre-arranged job and at least a postgraduate degree in the relevant field or ten years of experience, you’d probably only be getting competent English speakers because that’s a skill that would have been acquired in the process of meeting those requirements. Plus, the volume would probably drop as well.

      • StephenMEMBER

        You’re the one turning this into a race issue, but that’s par for the course with your usual offerings.

        The suggestions you gave are already the case in much of the permanent visa stream, they’re standardizing it across the board for things like partner visas which have the most fraud. ie farmer Dave goes to Thailand and brings across a ‘wife’ and she leaves him the day she gets the 801 visa. They then bring family over, rinse and repeat. Or its a payment for visa scam from day one for about 60k. Huge cost to the taxpayer and home affairs.

        The fact that someone can literally fly in on a tourist visa and apply for a partner visa on day one, and get medicare and centrelink benefits while on the bridging visa for two years, when its not even approved is another scam theyre string to stamp out with these kinds of changes.

        Pays to know the laws Smithy.

      • Stewie GriffinMEMBER

        The only meme is “Anyone who objects to supporting a heavy burden of non-English speaking migrants who remain a burden on our social welfare system for eternity, must be a racist.” It is the same dog whistle that has been used by the Peter Martin globalist crowd, to shut down legitimate debate over immigration.

        That mass migration of non-english speaking migrants, imported purely to boost aggregate demand, and who inevitably get pushed into fringe ghettos and ultimately parallel communities competing against the host nations cultural interest, is self evident when you look at any European nation.

      • StephenMEMBER

        Stewie spot on, could not have said it better myself.

        Multi-cult-uralism and diversity are integral parts of the neoliberal mass migration model. It’s part of the brainwashing to get host countries to accept large migrant intakes and to normalize it.

      • Stewie GriffinMEMBER

        In ecology, the competitive exclusion principle, sometimes referred to as Gause’s law, is a proposition named for Georgy Gause that two species competing for the same limiting resource cannot coexist at constant population values.

        It is EXACTLY the same for cultures and the fundamental flaw behind the mass migration marketing spin known as “Multiculturalism” Two or more cultures cannot inhabit the same space, and compete for the same resources, seeking the needs of THEIR communities to be satisfied in primacy to all others, without coming into conflict.

        Multiculturalism isn’t something that makes our societies stronger and more united – on the contrary, it is a formula for long term instability and conflict.

        Just take a look at the incidence of the word “racism” appearing in the New York times…. pretty much non-existent prior to 1965 in the US, after which an ever increasing upward trajectory.

        https://twitter.com/randal_olson/status/804004637011542016

        So what happened in 1965?

        The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 also known as the Hart–Celler Act, that allowed the population groups from cultural backgrounds that failed to launch for thousands of years, to migrate to the US en mass.

      • drsmithyMEMBER

        You’re the one turning this into a race issue, but that’s par for the course with your usual offerings.

        LOL. The people dog whistling are making it a “race issue”. Stewie’s blowing pretty hard on his, too.

        The suggestions you gave are already the case in much of the permanent visa stream […]

        Not according to the posts and comments I read here every day.

      • drsmithyMEMBER

        The only meme is “Anyone who objects to supporting a heavy burden of non-English speaking migrants who remain a burden on our social welfare system for eternity, must be a racist.”

        Right. But a “heavy burden of English speaking migrants who remain a burden on our social welfare system for eternity” is OK ?

        How about if a Japanese robotics expert with poor English skills wanted to come and spend five years here working at one of our best Universities ? Should we tell him to bugger off if his English is not good enough, or do you think maybe he might have something to contribute even if he can’t order a pizza over the phone ?

        Multiculturalism isn’t something that makes our societies stronger and more united – on the contrary, it is a formula for long term instability and conflict.

        “And that is why WASPs should be running everything.”

        The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 also known as the Hart–Celler Act, that allowed the population groups from cultural backgrounds that failed to launch for thousands of years, to migrate to the US en mass.

        Yeah, you’re right. There was totally nothing else race-related going on in the USA in the ’60s.

      • Stewie GriffinMEMBER

        Lol – you’re attempting to refute the FACT that these non-english speaking migrants remain a heavy burden on OUR welfare system practically forever, with a hypothetical example of a single Japanese robotics specialist who could be imported here to do a job under any number of other existing visas? Yeah right – you’ve got nothing.

        No, WASPS should be running everything because guess what – EVERYTHING in Australia is a result of the efforts of the pre-existing Colonial Australians who were responsible for every bit of Australia’s social capital, from the high trust society (something that is an increasingly distant memory) to the schools, hospitals, police force, faith in the rule of law, equitable rules of law.

        Why work and sacrifice to built a better nation for yourself, your kids and your neighbours, when every bit of sacrifice is in turn monetised by corporate elites as they stuff the country full of more consumers – consumers who dislike your culture, dislike your people, and have no interest in anything that your society can offer, other than our welfare and and short cut to a better life?

        Australia was built – it was a first world nation with one of the highest standard of living in the world BEFORE we had multiculturalism forced down our throats by Peter Scanlon or Frank Lowy, simply so they could pack out their malls with more consumers. The migrants of today are not leaving their nations to carve our cities and farms from the bare earth, leaving everything and everyone they knew behind to travel to the other side of the world to build a new live with no guarantee of success – they’re looking for a short cut to a better life, at our expense, where even if they fail, like the MAJORITY of these non-english speaking migrants do, then they’re still immesuarably better off than if they remained in whatever sht hole that they were spawned from in the first place

        Multiculturalism has delivered NOTHING other than a few tasty inner city restaurants that no doubt leave you so enamoured that you’re prepared to hand over everything the majoirty of pre-existing Australians have worked for.

        Your the ultimate bugman – lets hand over everything that makes Australia great, simply so you get a better pizza. Tell me – if our food is now so good, thanks to Multiculturalism, do you really think it will be a million times better if we let in another million immigrants from spicy food nations?

      • drsmithyMEMBER

        Lol – you’re attempting to refute the FACT that these non-english speaking migrants remain a heavy burden on OUR welfare system practically forever, with a hypothetical example of a single Japanese robotics specialist who could be imported here to do a job under any number of other existing visas?

        No, champ, I’m trying to make the point that whether or not someone’s England is lots worstly or very besting is not really something that should play a significant factor in deciding whether or not to give them a visa (or citizenship).

        I’ve been stating here for years that the immigration program should be focused on bringing in high-skill, high-value immigrants with rare or difficult to acquire skills, targeting industries identified as significant wealth multipliers or strategically critical to the progress and security of the country. My view being if you control for that, pretty much all the other desirable stuff falls into line (and undesirable out).

        No, WASPS should be running everything because guess what – EVERYTHING in Australia is a result of the efforts of the pre-existing Colonial Australians who were responsible for every bit of Australia’s social capital, from the high trust society (something that is an increasingly distant memory) to the schools, hospitals, police force, faith in the rule of law, equitable rules of law. Why work and sacrifice to built a better nation for yourself, your kids and your neighbours, when every bit of sacrifice is in turn monetised by corporate elites as they stuff the country full of more consumers?

        And of course only WASPs believe in this sort of stuff, right ?

      • Stewie GriffinMEMBER

        Reality is – if we don’t bring in the flood of barely functional carpet baggers alongside those “highly skilled workers”, then there is no need for those highly skilled workers in the first place is there? Supply creates its own demand, in Australia’s case, we’re being supplied with crap and its generating demand for diamonds.

        For arguments sake, fine bring in those highly skilled valuable workers, but do so under a process of INTEGRATION not multiculturalism. Celebrate Australia, Australian culture and the 2500 years of Western European culture and heritage that produced it.

        Instead we are getting an unending flood of barely functional, semi-literal non-english speaking carpet-baggers that we’re having pushed on us so Gerry Harvey can sell a couple more Toasters in malls owned by Frank Lowy.

        If those immigrants want their cultural heritage from whatever sht-hole they’ve originated from held on equal footing with the pre-existing cultural values of Australia, and preserved and competing with our own – then no fcuking way.

      • The robot expert need not speak English if his salary is $96,400/year.

        Of course, that should be the legal minimum salary of all work visa staff.

        When Singapore gives work visas to Indian IT staff, Singapore wants them to train up Singaporeans over that period and then go back to the 3rd world. AUS gives them a PR visa within 3.5 years of landing here and they obviously displace Aussie IT workers.

        50% of Aussies under the age of 25 can not get full time work and you think a “job guarantee” can exist: https://www.news.com.au/finance/work/careers/study-reveals-the-struggle-of-young-australians-to-find-fulltime-work/news-story/f1137a1fbf16fee2769ea1b5deceb211

      • drsmithyMEMBER

        Reality is – if we don’t bring in the flood of barely functional carpet baggers alongside those “highly skilled workers”, then there is no need for those highly skilled workers in the first place is there?

        You really think Australia has the smartest people in every field and endeavour in the world ?

        Heck, these days the question almost needs to be: do you think Australia has the smartest people in ANY field or endeavour in the world ?

        There is need for highly skilled workers to bring their skills to the country. There’s also no real reason NOT to let in sustainable numbers of suitable immigrants once the economic settings are in place to make them productive in advancing the welfare of the nation.

        For arguments sake, fine bring in those highly skilled valuable workers, but do so under a process of INTEGRATION not multiculturalism. Celebrate Australia, Australian culture and the 2500 years of Western European culture and heritage that produced it.

        “Integration” IS “multiculuralism”. That’s what happens. Australian culture is a mixture of those it has absorbed.

        The only people who disagree are those trying to stir up trouble, divide the population and exclude anyone they think has come from the wrong culture – or those who think Australia still resembles early 20th century England – and the hordes of useful idiots hanging off them looking for an excuse to metaphorically (or literally) bash some heads.

        Instead we are getting an unending flood of barely functional, semi-literal non-english speaking carpet-baggers that we’re having pushed on us so Gerry Harvey can sell a couple more Toasters in malls owned by Frank Lowy.

        Really ? I thought we were getting an unending flood of barely functional, semi-literal non-english speaking carpet-baggers to suppress wages, make dodgy landlords rich and keep the farms functioning. How many of these people living ten to a bedroom and sending all their money home, or picking fruit in the tropics for next to nothing, do you really think are shopping in Harvey’s or DJs ?

      • drsmithyMEMBER

        50% of Aussies under the age of 25 can not get full time work and you think a “job guarantee” can exist:

        LOL. Sure. In the same way 200k immigrants are added to the country each year and you want to give them tens of thousands of dollars of welfare.

        Are the roads where you live perfect ? Do the doctors never have anyone waiting to see them ? Are there no homeless people around ? Does public transport come frequently enough to not need a car ?

        Do you think there might be some jobs involved in addressing any of these issues ?

      • Stewie GriffinMEMBER

        Until we’ve been deluged with this flood of people in the name of ‘multicultural enrichment’ Australian culture was 90% derived from people of Christian Western European decent with the majority of that coming from just 3 nations within the British Isles.

        Australian culture is BECOMING a mixture of what its absorbed – to the detriment of the host society that built this nation and generated the social capital that made it the envy of the world. Now, just like with Europe, we are absorbing a host of incompatible cultures and populating our cities with a large number of people people who neither like existing colonial white Australians nor wish to participate or be absorbed into our nation.

        Our cities are being stuffed with people from a cornucopia of different nations and cultures each blending a little bit of what it means to be Australian away from those cities that they’re inhabiting – it is effectively stealing our major cities and our cultural centres away from the heartland Australian values that built this country. Is it anyone people ask the question what does it mean to be Australian, when we’ve filled our cities with people from competing cultures. Every additional person and culture doesn’t enrich Australian culture – it dilutes it and at best will result in a bland global city, devoid of the unique character and culturally divorced from the heartland of Australia, which it feeds upon like parasites, at worst it will become descend into a corrupt dystopia, filled with corrupt ethnic enclaves, each competing with the other to see who can gouge the most out of the rest of Australia for their own communities benefit.

        The sanctimonious drivel you go on with – pretending that you are some high moralled individual as you argue for a never ending flood of ‘Skilled Migrants” flooding in and devaluing the earning potention of young Australians who have to pay for their education in Australian dollars as opposed to Indian Rupiah, and who are constrained in housing and access to jobs in the monopsony employment market that favours unattached young workers, who have no problem bedding 8 down to a room as it is still a fcuk load better than whatever slum they escaped from in Pakistan, China or the middle east to come here…. yeah , fruit pickers my ass – its highly skilled workers one minute with you and fruit pickers the next. Any change of tack to hide the fact that you have no real position other than appearing virtuous.

      • drsmithyMEMBER

        The sanctimonious drivel you go on with – pretending that you are some high moralled individual as you argue for a never ending flood of ‘Skilled Migrants” flooding in […]

        Meh. You’re not reading anything I’m writing and just want to sit there yelling at projections and bang the drum about how awful the darkies are. What’s the point ?

      • Stewie GriffinMEMBER

        Meh. You’re not reading anything I’m writing and just want to sit there yelling at projections and bang the drum about how awful the darkies are. What’s the point ?

        I heard every word – they could have been read off any set of script notes issued by the Lowy Institute or the Scanlon Foundation.

        Our roads may not have been perfect, our hospitals depreciate and need replacing, and our schools could do with some improvement – but flooding the nation with barely functional illiterate immigrants, further straining our transport system, doubling the need for hospitals and schools, both to replace our existing aging ones and building new ones to cope with the flood of people isn’t the answer.

        I did’t mention darkies, I mentioned the nations where these semi-literate people are coming from. The fact that they happen to be mainly POC is a convenient means for you to avoid the issue and simply point the bone yelling ‘racist’

      • drsmithyMEMBER

        I heard every word […]

        No you haven’t.

        Because if you had, you’d have seen that I’ve said (repeatedly, for years) I think high levels of low-skilled immigration is a really bad idea.

        Yet “somehow” (LOL) you’ve taken ‘some people who aren’t WASPs might be OK’ and gotten to ‘open borders with the third world’.

        Carry on.

      • Stewie GriffinMEMBER

        How do you define ‘highly skilled’? University degree? Accounting maybe? No shortage there. Engineer perhaps? No shortage there either. Maybe we should be taking in more medical graduates – surely they’re highly skilled.

        You may ‘say’ you’ve only been arguing for immigration of highly skilled, yet here you are rushing to defend barriers being erected to knock out the most basic skill – speaking the same fcuking language as the rest of Australia. Not to mention that you’re happy looking through the fact that those immigrant with poor language skills are vastly over represented in terms of reliance on OUR welfare system, and if anyone dare mention the fact, the second utterance out of your mouth apart from some obligatory reference to ‘dog whistleing’, is always, “But what about poor dumb white Australians using our welfare” Never mind the fact that that is what it is for, welfare – for Australians… not immigrants who’ve refused to even make the effort to learn our language before moving her and sticking their hand out for some of what our society has worked for.

      • drsmithyMEMBER

        Like I said, not bothering to read anything I write.

        Indeed, you seem to be just outright making stuff up, since a) I rarely use the phrase “dog whistling” at all and b) I’m fairly sure I’ve never said anything even vaguely resembling “but what about poor dumb white Australians using our welfare”, ever.

        Though apparently you think I say it all the time, so you shouldn’t have any trouble linking to a few examples.

  5. adelaide_economistMEMBER

    Embarrassingly weak response to the pressing issues and yet no doubt the ALP and Greens will bemoan or denounce it. Meanwhile the spigots on the flood of cheap labour, English-speaking or not, will remain firmly open.