Background of the AMEP

The AMEP was established in 1948 to provide English language training to recent arrivals to assist with their settlement in Australia. The program evolved from the Adult Migrant Education Scheme to assist migrants arriving in Australia post World War II.

AMEP is the only Commonwealth funded program that assists new migrants and humanitarian entrants to learn English. On average, approximately 60,000 clients are assisted each year. Approximately 26 per cent of these are humanitarian migrants with the majority of clients on skilled or family visas.

The program provides eligible migrants and humanitarian entrants with up to 510 hours of free English language tuition.

The program is legislated under the Immigration (Education) Act 1971 (the Act). The program was legislated in response to Multiculturalism in Australia.

The Australian Government contracts Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) to deliver AMEP for a three year period. Under the latest contract, which commenced 1 July 2017, AMEP is delivered nationally across 58 contract regions by 13 AMEP service providers and one distance learning provider.

Program evaluation

To ensure that the AMEP continues to meet the Australian Government’s objectives, the Department engaged ACIL Allen Consulting to conduct an independent evaluation of the program and potential synergies and the strategic alignment with the Skills for Education and Employment (SEE) program in 2014.

These evaluations examined current funding arrangements, and the quality of program outcomes, as well as program appropriateness, effectiveness and efficiency. Stakeholder consultation and feedback obtained through surveys, focus groups and in-depth interviews, played a vital role in informing the outcomes of the evaluation.

The AMEP Evaluation report and SEE-AMEP Alignment report are available here.

New business model for AMEP from 1 July 2017

As part of the 2016–17 Budget measures, the Australian Government announced reforms to the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP). The release of the reforms aligned with the new service provider contract period that commenced 1 July 2017.

The changes to the AMEP business model seek to help clients achieve better English language outcomes in order to find sustainable employment and participate independently in society. 

Features of the new business model include:

  • providing access to a capped program of up to 490 hours of additional tuition for clients who have not reached functional English after completing their legislative entitlement of 510 hours
  • removing the funding cap applied to the AMEP sub-program, the Special Preparatory Program, allowing all eligible humanitarian entrants to access additional training 
  • increasing flexibility and innovation in service delivery by allowing providers to choose a curriculum that best meets their clients’ needs, as well as providing access to an innovative projects fund 
  • enhancing flexibility and support for clients by offering choice of tuition streams that will deliver tailored tuition to meet their needs and goals
  • a trial of a competitive model for delivering AMEP services, encouraging service providers to become more responsive and creative in the way they engage clients
  • improving connections between AMEP and other government employment and education services, such as the Skills for Education and Employment (SEE) program

Further information can be found in the announcement from Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills, the Hon Karen Andrews MP.