Lack of English skills is preventing them from getting jobs
Lean towards a plural verb here, and (English) skills becomes the subject and and so "English skills are preventing them from getting jobs."
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'lack' is the subject, hence, singular verb.
decide whether you are referring to a single unit, or two people, and the verb is singular or plural accordingly:
Each couple was asked to bring a plate to the party.
(In a dance competition): The couple is/has been disqualified.
The winning couple has one week to collect the prize.
Otherwise, plural verb.
Seems straightforward till we hit:
The couple is buying a house. It seems forced and odd-sounding; and I would defy that authority and write, "The couple are buying (their first home)."
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