More humanitarian migrants find jobs


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Content type
Media release

July 2016

The findings - from the Building a New Life in Australia study -- will be presented to the Australian Institute of Family Studies' conference today.

The Institute's Director, Anne Hollonds said that up to 18 months after their arrival in Australia, migrants' employment prospects had gradually improved.

"Fifteen to 18 months after their arrival, 18 per cent of the humanitarian migrants had progressed into employment, up from 7.2 per cent when they had been here for 3-6 months," Ms Hollonds said.

"The employment rate for men was higher than for women, with 28.5 per cent of male humanitarian migrants in work 15-18 months after arrival, compared to 4.9 per cent of women in the same time period.

"This is a significant employment boost for these migrant families in which men tend to be the primary breadwinners while women have traditionally focused on caring for children."

Associate Professor, Dr Ben Edwards said the study - which is following a group of almost 2,400 immigrants in all states and territories - was documenting their resettlement experiences.

"This is a vulnerable group. Many are fleeing trauma and persecution and have spent time in camps and detention centres. They tend to have low levels of literacy and little formal schooling," he said.

"However, the study shows that the more time they had spent in Australia, the higher the likelihood that they had secured paid work.

"We also tracked the progress of the migrants to see if those who had found work, soon after arrival were still in employment when we revisited them a year later.

"The analysis showed that 65 per cent of that initial group were still working one year on, indicating a level of stability in their ability to maintain employment.

"Holding migrants back from the workforce were factors including a lack of affordable housing; language proficiency; mental health issues and the level of community support.

"The findings highlight the need to target employment services effectively to help maximise the skills of migrants building a life in Australia.

"Some migrants had skills in their home country but had not been able to have them recognised or fully utilise these skills in Australia which had forced them to 'skid' down the employment ladder into low skill jobs.

"Programs to maximise migrants' skills will help boost Australia's overall economic productivity and help secure a future for migrants and their families."

Media contact     
Kate O'Connor      
Phone: 0499 860 257  
Email: kate.o'[email protected]