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09 Jun 2016

News

NSW Government extends helping hand to refugees

The Government announced this week that it would create at least 100 public sector jobs for refugees over the next year, in a bid to accommodate the additional national intake of 12,000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees the Federal Government announced last year.

The roles will be open to any refugees who have recently settled in NSW, and the Government has also called on the corporate sector to contribute to improving labour market outcomes for refugees.

Settlement Services International (SSI) CEO Violet Roumeliotis said the NSW Government’s decision to prioritise jobs for refugees sent a strong message about the contribution these individuals could make to Australia.

“The refugee community has untapped potential that will only strengthen the existing skills and knowledge in the NSW public sector,” she said.

“The only attribute shared by people who come to Australia as refugees is that they have been forced to flee their homeland. Teachers, engineers, doctors, students ¬¬– war and persecution do not discriminate on the basis of a person’s occupation or education.

“Many refugees are skilled, educated and hard-working people, and our country has benefited greatly from their economic, social and cultural contribution. The Government should be applauded for its positive thinking.”

Ms Roumeliotis said the move to open up jobs for refugees would also increase the speed with which these new arrivals settled into the Australian community.

“Employment is a critical first step that supports refugees to achieve their full potential and achieve economic and social independence,” she said.

A recent research paper from SSI points to shows, however, that existing barriers in the Australian labour market that can funnel refugees into low-skilled, low-paid jobs, regardless of their skills.

“A stronger focus on identifying and realising the employment potential of refugees and temporary protection visa holders is needed so that Australia can avoid athe missed opportunity,” it says.

“The evidence clearly indicates that over time, labour market outcomes for refugees improve and, by the second generation, employment outcomes among people from refugee backgrounds are higher than for those who are Australian-born.”

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