This time last year, the Coalition was said to be 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…
Today, the Courier Mail reports that the Coalition has abandoned plans to tighten English language requirements for migrants seeking to become citizens:
About 1200 migrants who failed the test three times in the same year nevertheless became new Australians in 2018.
The Courier-Mail can now reveal that the Federal Government will not toughen up the test, which would have banned people taking the test for two years if they failed three times, required an English test and asked questions on “Australian values”…
It is understood the Government has no plans to proceed with the previously proposed changes.
Minister for Open Borders Home Affairs spokesperson, Kristina Keneally, congratulated “multicultural Australia” for “standing up” to the government:
The Productivity Commission’s Migrant Intake into Australia report explicitly 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 and citizens 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 fulfil the responsibilities of residency.
That said, mandating English language proficiency is a second order issue to lowering Australia’s turbo-charged immigration intake to more sensible and sustainable levels.
The South Australian Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA) is a formal agreement between the Australian Government, represented by the Department of Home Affairs and the South Australian Government, Department of Innovation and Skills.
The South Australian Government has entered into two DAMAs:
- Adelaide Technology and Innovation Advancement Agreement – which focuses on Adelaide’s high-tech growth industries including defence, space, technology and advanced manufacturing industries.
The Adelaide City Technology and Innovation Advancement Agreement is the Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA) covering the Adelaide Metropolitan region only.
- South Australian Regional Workforce Agreement – which focuses on South Australia’s regional high growth industries including agribusiness, forestry, health and social services, tourism and hospitality, construction and mining.
The South Australian Regional Workforce Agreement is the Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA) covering the entire state of South Australia.
The DAMAs will enable South Australian employers to sponsor skilled overseas workers for positions they are unable to fill with local workers. Employers experiencing skills and labour shortages can apply for endorsement to enter into a DAMA labour agreement. This enables them to sponsor skilled and semi-skilled overseas workers with more flexible requirements than are available via the standard skilled visa programs.
Immigration SA will undertake the role of Designated Area Representative (DAR), which is responsible for endorsing employers seeking to access overseas workers through the Designated Area Migration Agreements.
- Read the joint media release by Minister from Immigration Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs and the South Australian Minister for Innovation and Skills here.
Further details on the DAMA application process will be provided in the coming months.
Remember we told you about the Australian millionaire who was advertising for a personal assistant to travel around the globe living in the lap of luxury? Well, he’s had quite a bit of uptake on his offer.
Actually, 40,000 people have applied for the position.
Matthew Lepre runs an e-commerce empire and trousers around A$120,000 each week. The job that he was offering was to oversee the growth of the four companies that he runs whilst living the globe-trotting lifestyle alongside him.
The pay wasn’t too bad, either. Lepre is offering a base rate of around A$52,000.
That base rate is just the start, too. Travel and health, all covered. There’s a lot of travelling, by the way. At least one different country every couple of months.
Lepre explained: “Salary will be based on the person’s experience but the base rate is in addition to travel and accommodation expenses. Health insurance benefits are paid for by me separately,
“Travelling while I work has allowed me to live my ideal life, and I want to give someone the opportunity to do the same alongside me,”
The 26-year-old entrepreneur described the post as “the coolest job in the world” and it seems as if a decent amount of people agree with him.
Speaking for his private villa in Thailand, Lepre told the Daily Mail: “I have received over 40,000 applications from people all around the world. I have definitely received far more applications from women (75 per cent) than men (25 per cent) and even a few marriage proposals too,”
Wow. How do you even go about sifting through that many applications? He should probably just start advertising several other jobs as assistants to help find the right candidate for the first job.
He says that from what they know so far, most of the people who have applied are between the ages of 23 and 37 – millennials to you and me – and are drawn from across the globe.
The largest demographic – so they say – is women from Australia. However, there are also applicants from the UK, Italy, South America, and Asia.
He continued: “A lot of people who are applying say in their application that they are working the 9-5 rat race and want to escape corporate life and are ready to bring the skills they have learnt to this role, while travelling the world with me,”
Although he lives the life of luxury these days, all massages, cocktails, and sunshine, he wasn’t brought up that way. Lepre thinks it is important to remember that he grew up in a single parent family in Sydney’s Western Suburbs and is committed to giving something back.
He added: “‘Life is always about giving back to those less fortunate than you and I am always thankful to those who supported my mum and I during the dark days when times were tough financially,”
Well, good luck to all the applicants. Let’s see who gets the job at the end of it all.
Featured Image Credit: Instagram