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Immigration (Education) Amendment Bill 1991



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House: House of Representatives

Portfolio: Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs

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Purpose

To expand the range of persons eligible for English tuition courses under the Adult Migrant Education Program and citizenship tuition courses. The Bill will also allow the Minister to arrange for language training and related services to be provided to non-government organisations.

Background

The Adult Migrant Education Program (AMEP) was established in 1947. The AMEP is principally designed to provide English tuition to recently arrived adult immigrants with poor or no English. Its aim is to enable them to communicate effectively with local services; gain access to appropriate employment and mainstream education and training programs; and continue to learn English independently. The AMEP is funded by the Department of Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs (DILGEA) under the Immigration (Education) Act 1971 (the Principal Act) and is conducted by eight State/Territory Adult Migrant Education Services, three TAFE Colleges, nine higher education providers, two commercial institutions and three community colleges. In 1989/90, 70 000 persons participated in the AMEP, 80% of which had been resident in Australia for less than five years and 56% of whom were women. AMEP funding statistics for 1984/85-1990/91 are contained in Table 1 below.

Table 1: AMEP Funding 1

*|!!;>!!!;^*!*!! 1984/85 1985/86 1986/87 1987/88 1988/89 1989/90 1990/91 Tuition $38.05m $42.191m $45.750m $54.413m $67.068m $65.403m $75.442m Living allowances $5.69m $4.728m $4.426m $4.968m $6.17m 6.17m $7.431m Total $43.74m $46.919m $50.176m $59.381m $73.238m $71.573m $82.873m

A range of learning arrangements are available under the AMEP, including: full and part time courses; courses in community venues; a home tutor scheme; individual learning centres; and English in the workplace classes. In addition, the AMEP provides support arrangements such as free childcare and income support to facilitate access to the AMEP by women and financially disadvantaged persons.

The effect of the major amendment to the Principal Act proposed by this Bill will be to expand the range of persons eligible for English tuition under the AMEP. Currently, section 4 of the Principal Act provides that the Minister may arrange for English and citizenship courses to be provided:

*outside Australia to intending migrants; and

*inside Australia to persons ordinarily resident in Australia who: came to Australia as immigrants, or

as persons under 21 years old who have a parent who came to Australia as an immigrant; and

*persons who came to the Cocos (Keeling) Islands or Christmas Island as immigrants; or

*persons under 21 years old who have a parent who came to the Cocos (Keeling) Islands or Christmas Island as an immigrant.

Main Provisions

Clause 4 provides that the Minister may arrange for English and citizenship courses to be provided:

*Outside Australia: to intending migrants; and

*Inside Australia to:

*persons holding a permanent entry permit; or

*persons holding a temporary entry permit of a specified class; or

*persons who previously held a permanent entry permit and have become Australian citizens; or

*persons under 18 who have a parent who has held or holds a permanent entry permit; or

*New Zealanders who are exempt from holding an entry permit and whose stay in Australia is not subject to a time limit; and

*In the Cocos (Keeling) Islands or Christmas Island to:

*persons holding a permanent entry permit; or

*persons holding a temporary entry permit of a specified class; or

*persons who previously held a permanent entry permit and have become Australian citizens; or

*persons under 18 who have a parent who has held or holds a permanent entry permit.

Clause 10 provides that the Minister may arrange for language training and related services to be provided to non-government organisations.

References

1. Literacy and Language Taskforce, Department of Employment, Education and Training, Discussion Paper on an Australian Literacy and Language Policy for the 1990s, December 1990, Vol. 2, p. 30.

Bills Digest Service 27 February 1991

Parliamentary Research Service

For further information, if required, contact the Law and Government Group on 06 2772460.

This Digest does not have any official legal status. Other sources should be consulted to determine the subsequent official status of the Bill.

Commonwealth of Australia 1991

Except to the extent of the uses permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without the prior written consent of the Parliamentary Library, other than by Members of the Australian Parliament in the course of their official duties.

Published by the Department of the Parliamentary Library, 1991.