Australia’s new prime minister, Tony Abbott, was sworn in last month, promising significant changes to the immigration portfolio.
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP), previously known as the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC), recently announced that its jurisdiction is being revised in some areas.
The DIBP will no longer administer the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) which provides “eligible migrants and humanitarian entrants” with free English language courses. The Department of Industry, established on September 18, will now oversee this.
The Department of Industry also deals with legislation surrounding skills assessments and vocational education for those entering the country on immigration visas to look for work.
The DIBP explained that making the AMEP one of the Department of Industry’s responsibilities would complement the emerging focus of the program: the role English language skills play in preparing migrants to seek employment”.
In addition to this, the DIBP will no longer perform “settlement and multicultural affairs functions”.
The following programs will be taken over by the Department of Social Services: Humanitarian Settlement Services, Complex Case Support, the Diversity and Social Cohesion Program, the Settlement Grants Program, the Building Multicultural Communities Program and Multicultural Arts and Festivals Grants.
The DIBP will continue to oversee arrangements for those entering, staying and leaving Australia. It has named “non-citizens, border immigration control, citizenship, ethnic affairs and customs, and border control other than quarantine and inspection” as its main areas of operation.
Finally, the DIBP has promised it will play a role in Operation Sovereign Borders and other programs that aim to look after Australia’s borders and stop people smuggling once and for all.
It will take a while for all of these changes to come into effect. The DIBP said the transition is currently underway, and that it expects it will take “some months” to complete.