29 August 2022
Dear Mr Burke,
With the 2022 Jobs and Skills Summit coming up this week, I’d like to share with you a brief document the Refugee Council of Australia has put together outlining eight opportunities to more fully realise the potential of humanitarian migration in meeting current and future jobs and skills challenges. This document builds on the points we and others raised at your recent multicultural roundtable on employment.
The eight opportunities are:
1. Expanding the Refugee and Humanitarian Program, to increase the opportunities arising from the youth and energy of arrivals whose median age is 15 years younger than the national average.
2. Taking full advantage of an existing workforce of 107,000 people who are on bridging visas and at various points in the asylum process, by reinstating work rights and exploring alternative visa pathways for people already contributing to the national economy (or would like to but are being denied the right to work).
3. Granting permanent visas to refugees on temporary protection visas (as the Albanese Government has promised), to provide employers with reassurance about workers’ ongoing residence status and work rights and to enable the refugees to continue to contribute to the nation.
4. Expanding and extending the innovative Skilled Refugee Labour Mobility Agreement Pilot, which enables Australian employers to directly recruit refugees with skills from overseas, drawing from a global database of 40,000 refugees interested in this opportunity.
5. Targeted investment in specialist refugee employment services, to help newly arrived refugees to address the particular barriers they face in the transition to the Australian workforce.
6. Recognising the opportunities provided by the strong entrepreneurial spirit of many humanitarian entrants by investing in programs which support refugee entrepreneurs and business development.
7. Reviewing and implementing changes to qualification and skills recognition processes, to provide more accessible and affordable options for refugees seeking recognition of qualifications or skills gained overseas.
8. Responding to systemic discrimination faced by humanitarian entrants by implementing findings arising from the development of a National Anti-racism Framework.
Our four-page brief outlining these options can be found here.
If you would like more information on any of these ideas, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Chief Executive Officer
Refugee Council of Australia