Access to English language classes
A further challenge that many people seeking asylum face is the lack of English language classes. People seeking asylum are eligible for only 20 hours of free English classes, after which they are required to pay for classes themselves or attend community run classes (which are often difficult to find and are over capacity). People seeking asylum have also expressed a keen desire to learn more professional and academic levels of English in preparation for employment or further education.
However, there are currently no free courses available to this group of people. In contrast, refugees on both temporary and permanent visas receive 510 hours of free English language tuition through the Adult English Migrant Program (AMEP) to develop a basic level of English. In addition, they are eligible for the Skills for Education and Employment (SEE) program to support further English, computer and other skills for employment. However, many service providers have noted that jobactive employment providers are not adequately referring refugees to the SEE program and do not understand the important of the AMEP.
RCOA recommends that the Federal Government provide people seeking asylum access to 510 AMEP English language hours and the SEE program.