The Coalition Government will invest an extra $14.5 million in 2015-16 to help refugees learn English so they have a better chance of supporting themselves through work.

Assistant Minister for Education and Training Senator Simon Birmingham said the extra funding will help up to 2700 people being provided with Temporary Protection Visas (TPV) take part in the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP).

“The AMEP provides up to 510 hours of free English language tuition to eligible new arrivals to learn basic English, Senator Birmingham said.

“It is important for those on TPVs to be able to support themselves and contribute to the economy while living in Australia.

“English language proficiency is a core skill that employers require workers to have in just about every workplace in the country.

“Helping these refugees to improve their English language skills will help them improve their independence and well-being and increase their opportunities to support themselves through work while they are here.”

Senator Birmingham said the AMEP represents a sound investment in ensuring new arrivals have more opportunities to be self-sufficient rather than be dependent on income support.

“A recent longitudinal study by Macquarie University found that AMEP clients obtained higher levels of employment or higher paying jobs when they were equipped with better English language skills.

“While Australians are happy to help refugees we also expect those on TPVs to help themselves through work wherever they can.

“This investment will help more people on TPVs to work and make a contribution to Australia while they are here,” Senator Birmingham said.

Federal Member for Reid Craig Laundy MP said Reid is a diversely multicultural electorate and home to many of Australia’s newest arrivals. The struggles of starting your life again in another country can be tough enough on its own, but especially so when these troubles are compounded with language barriers. It is very difficult for most of us to imagine how isolating this must be.

“I am pleased we have been able to deliver this additional funding to better equip migrants with the vital workplace skills they require in order to contribute to our country they so desperately want to play a part in.

“The importance of this programme is not to be underestimated and there are AMEP service providers throughout my electorate. I am delighted that Assistant Minister Birmingham was able to join in visiting a number of them today,” he said.

For more information about the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) visit:

Media contact:
Caitlin Keage 0427 729 987 – Office of Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham
Marc Snape 0402 319 351 – Office of Craig Laundy MP