Race discrimination commissioner warns Australian partner visa changes could ‘segregate’ marriages

Australia’s race discrimination commissioner has urged the federal government to consult with key community stakeholders on a new English language requirement for partner visas, warning it could serve to “segregate” migrant couples. 

Race Discrimination Commissioner Chin Tan on Tuesday said the inclusion of the requirement in last week’s federal budget came as a surprise to those leaders in the multicultural sector. 

The peak body for migration agents in Australia, the Migration Institute of Australia, has also told SBS News it received no prior warning. 

Commissioner Tan said the requirement has led to “justifiable concern” among the community. 

“I support a government position that promotes and encourages all migrants to Australia to acquire English,” he said.

“But where there is a policy that enforces and sanctions the rights of partners under the Partners Visa to remain in Australia based on their English proficiency, then that requirement may be unfair and may

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