As part of the increased number of places for Partner visas announced in the recent Federal Budget it was included that there will also be a new English requirement. This change won’t come into effect until the middle of next year but will require the applicant and sponsor if they aren’t already and Australian citizen to speak functional English likely an IELTS of 4.5 “or to have at least made reasonable efforts to learn English.” A reasonable effort will likely be considered taking around 500 hours of English Language classes.
The English requirement won’t need to be met till the second permanent portion of the partner visa. This will give most applicants two years onshore to improve their English if they need to.
The reasons given for making this change are to protect applicants. As better English should help them find work in Australia and prevent abusive partners being able to hurt someone who can’t seek help from authorities.
It is still early days for a change that isn’t due to come into effect for almost a year so it possible the details could change before the requirement comes into effect. We will learn more details about the planned English requirement in the coming year.