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Learning English

The Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP)

English is Australia’s national language. People in Australia speak many languages, but to participate fully in Australian life you will need to speak and understand English. Without English, you will find it hard to access important services and to become independent. English language skills are also very important if you wish to work in Australia.

You will need to know how to speak English if you intend to become an Australian citizen.

The Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) is funded by the Australian Government and provides up to 510 hours of free English language lessons to eligible migrants and humanitarian entrants.

If you are an adult migrant or humanitarian entrant settling in Australia, have been granted a permanent visa or eligible temporary visa and speak little or no English, you may be eligible for AMEP. Some migrant youths between 15 and 17 years of age may also be eligible. There is a fact sheet at which will tell you more.

In an AMEP class, you will learn English language skills and information about Australian society. You will meet other new arrivals, with similar backgrounds, experiences and goals, and you may make new friends.

AMEP is offered through Australian Government approved service providers. Classes are taught by teachers who are trained to teach English to speakers of other languages.

Your service provider will help you choose a class that will best suit your needs to ensure the best possible result for you. There are full-time and part-time classes at different times (days, evenings and weekends) and in different places so you can learn when and where it suits you. There are also distance learning, online and home tutoring arrangements available.

See also AMEP child care if you have children.

Important timeframes for AMEP

To access English language tuition through AMEP, you must register with an approved AMEP service provider within six months of the date of your arrival in Australia or your visa commencing if you are in Australia already. You must begin English classes within one year of arriving in Australia or from your visa commencing.

You have five years from your date of arrival or visa commencement date to learn English through AMEP. You may be eligible for additional lessons if you have special needs, limited schooling or because of difficult pre-migration experiences.

For more information:

Your service provider can help you plan for further study after completing the AMEP.
Skills for Education and Employment (SEE)

If you are looking for a job, the Skills for Education and Employment (SEE) program may help. SEE provides up to 800 hours of free language, literacy and numeracy training and vocational learning to working-age job seekers having difficulty finding employment because of low literacy or English language skills. The program can assist you for up to two years.

Only people who are actively looking for work and receiving an eligible income support payment or allowance are eligible for SEE. Some people access SEE after completing the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) or if they are not eligible for AMEP.

For more information, phone or visit Centrelink, talk to your Employment Services Provider, or go to the SEE webpage at

See also Chapter 5, Employment

For more information please go to 

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