Australia will require foreign partners of existing residents to pass an English language test before gaining a permanent visa, its government says.
The controversial immigration requirement, if approved by parliament, would apply from mid-2021.
It would also force the partners of applicants to prove a level of English proficiency.
Critics have called the change "discriminatory", but the government says it will build "social cohesion".
"We will require an applicant and a sponsor to have met functional level English or to have at least made reasonable efforts to learn English," Immigration Minister Alan Tudge said.
In recent years, Australia's conservative government has called for prospective migrants to face mandatory, rigorous testing on their English language skills.
English proficiency is currently a requirement for some other work and study visas. Anyone applying for Australian citizenship must also pass an English test.
More than one-fifth of Australia's population speaks a language other than English at home, with the figure above 35% in the largest cities of Sydney and Melbourne.
BDST: 1225 HRS, OCT 08, 2020