Refugee Employment Support Program

The Refugee Employment Support Program (RESP) supports refugees and people seeking asylum to find suitable and skilled employment opportunities.

A young man in blue overalls is using a mobile tablet in a workshop with welding equipment and other tools.

Am I eligible for RESP?

RESP is available to people in western Sydney and the Illawarra who are underemployed or who are unemployed and require extra support.

Any person who has arrived in Australia on a refugee visa from December 1, 2011, aged 16 to 66, is eligible for the program in western Sydney and the Illawarra.

People seeking asylum who are aged 16 to 66 and are currently living in the community may access the RESP in western Sydney.

What does RESP involve?

  • Working with individuals to develop suitable career pathways through customised Language, Education and Employment Plans (LEEPs)
  • Developing employable English levels
  • Screening suitable participants who require additional support to be job ready
  • Assessing existing skills and qualifications
  • Linking participants to training, resources and tools to gain sustainable and skilled employment
  • Support with transport barriers
  • Pursuing recognition of prior learning and qualifications
  • Access to a network of partner organisations and mentors
  • Practical skill development through work experience opportunities
  • Opportunities for participants to showcase their skills to potential employers

Where is RESP?

Western Sydney (refugees and people seeking asylum); and Illawarra (refugees only).

Our model

We focus on community-based solutions to employment through involving local employers, organisations and other non-government organisations (NGOs) to connect eligible refugees and people seeking asylum with training, support and jobs.

The program is flexible and responsive to the needs of participants. It considers people at all stages of the employment journey, whether they are seeking entry into the workforce or pursuing skilled career options. Participants also work with multicultural employment specialists who can provide tailored support based on the participant’s skills, experience and goals.

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Refugee Employment Support Program Partners

The program is delivered by a partnership of organisations that includes:

  • Arab Council Australia
  • Assyrian Australian Association
  • Illawarra Multicultural Services
  • TAFENSW
  • Asylum Seekers Centre
  • Metro Assist
  • Western Sydney Migrant Resource Centre
  • Community Migrant Resource Centre (CMRC)

The RESP is embedded in the local communities of western Sydney and the Illawarra, through collaboration with SSI’s Member Organisations:

  • Auburn Diversity Services Inc.
  • Community Migrant Resource Centre (CMRC)
  • CORE Community Services
  • Illawarra Multicultural Services
  • Western Sydney Migrant Resource Centre
  • Metro Assist
  • SydWest Multicultural Services

The Refugee Employment Support Program (RESP) is a four-year initiative by the NSW Government that addresses the challenges that are experienced by refugees and people seeking asylum in finding suitable and skilled employment opportunities.