Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP)
The AMEP is a government program which teaches English language to people who come to Australia and do not have functional English.
The General Program of AMEP offers 510 hours of study. From 1 July 2017, changes to the Program mean that people who come to Australia under the Refugee and Humanitarian program can get extra hours through the Special Preparatory Program (SPP). Those over 25 years old, or under 25 years old but with 8 or more years of schooling, can get an extra 100 hours (610 hours in all). Those who are under 25 years can get up to 400 extra hours of English classes (910 hours).
The Program offers different ways to learn. Students can study full or part-time, in classrooms or community settings, or at home through Distance learning or through the Home Tutor Scheme.
From 1 July 2017, there were several changes to the Program. There are now two streams of AMEP. The Pre-employment stream is for people who want to use it to get work, or training that will lead to work. The Social stream is for people who want to use it so they can have conversational English and participate in society. People can use their hours for a mix of both streams.
Who teaches AMEP?
AMEP classes are delivered by service providers around Australia in over 250 locations. You can find the service providers on the Department of Education’s website.
Who can get AMEP, and for how long?
Everyone who has a permanent visa can study under the program. Refugees on temporary protection visas also have access, but not people seeking asylum.
To qualify, people must not have ‘functional English’. This is defined by law.
They must meet time limits for registering, starting and completing the program.
- register within six months
- start studying within 12 months, and
- finish studying within five years.
While the Program is mostly for adults, people between 15-17 years old who do not have functional English and whose needs are not met through mainstream schooling may also be able to use AMEP. Those who are under 18 must:
- register and start studying within 12 months, and
- finish studying within five years.
These time limits start from the day the person came to Australia, or the day their permanent visa or eligible temporary visa came into effect.
English in schools
From 1 July 2014, the Australian Government provides extra funding to State schools for students with low English proficiency. Under the Schooling Resource Standard, a certain amount is allocated per student, adjusted for certain disadvantages. A loading of 10% of the base amount is given to schools for students with low English proficiency. The funding is then passed on to the State or Territory Government which then gives the money to schools according to their own policies.
State and Territory governments have their own policies for students learning English as an additional language or dialect (EAL/D), including funding.
New South Wales
New South Wales has a New Arrivals Program which provides intensive English support for students beginning English study. This includes extra teaching support and, for those of high school age, Intensive English Centres (IECs) and and the Intensive English High School (IEHS).
Victoria has a similar new arrivals program through English language schools and centres, and through regional programs. There are also outpost programs, outreach services and a Virtual New Arrivals Program for those who cannot access the main centres.
In South Australia, primary students enrol in an Intensive English Language Centre (IELC), while high school students go to New Arrivals Program Centres. There is also extra support within mainstream schools through the EALD program.
Schools get support through specialist teachers and teacher assistants. The program is coordinated through the State EAL Program Manager.
In Western Australia, newly arrived students can attend Intensive English Centres for 12 months, and people with refugee or humanitarian visas may be able to extend this to another 12 months. There is also extra funding available for mainstream schools to support students.
In the Northern Territory, students attend intensive English language programs at certain schools for a year, at primary and senior levels.
Australian Capital Territory
- Department of Education, Adult Migrant English Program
- Department of Education and Training, English classes for eligible migrants and humanitarian entrants in Australia (June 2017)