In this submission, we express our concerns the proposed amendments in the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Welfare Reform) Bill 2017 will further disadvantage newly arrived communities in finding employment. Refugees often face difficulties in gaining employment due to structural barriers, including those created by federally funded employment programs, such as the Jobactive Program. This submission will provide an overview of the failure of the proposed amendments to social services legislation, including the Jobactive program, to meet the needs of refugee communities.
Learn more about TPV/SHEVs
Can I work on a SHEV?
Yes, you can work. You have the same rights as other Australians when working.
According to the government, to count towards the ‘pathway requirements’ (to be able to apply for a permanent visa), any work must be lawful, paid, and in a regional area within the SHEV scheme. The work can be full-time, part-time, temporary, casual or seasonal, or a combination. You can have breaks between work, and each calendar month that you work counts towards the pathway requirements. If you get Special Benefit payments at the same time, that work will not count.
When you are working in Australia, there are some things you must know. They can protect you in the workplace and stop you from getting into trouble. You can read about them here.
Can I study?
You can study. Children (under 18) can attend school. Adults can learn English using the Adult English Migrant Program, which gives you 510 hours of study.
If you are an adult, you can study at TAFE or university, but in most cases you will not get any government help (such as Austudy or Youth Allowance), and you will have to pay international student rates. These can be very expensive.
However, some universities are providing scholarships. Different States may also have different policies to help people on TPVs and SHEVs. For example, the Victorian Government will fund training for 3,000 people seeking asylum or on temporary protection visas. The NSW Government expanded access to government subsidised vocational education and training under Smart and Skilled for holders of bridging visas, temporary humanitarian concern visas and temporary humanitarian stay visas.
If you are attending university, this will affect your income support. If you are enrolled full time you will likely lose your income support.
What kind of study will meet the SHEV ‘pathway requirements’?
For study to count towards those requirements, you need to physically undertake study that is:
- accredited by the Australian Qualifications Framework, including a maximum of one course leading to a Certificate I and any courses leading to a Certificate II or above, and
- full-time, either:
- at the campus of an education provider located in a regional area included in the SHEV arrangements, or
- at a primary school, high school or college in regional Australia for a minimum of 161 weeks (consistent with three and a half standard academic years) of full-time registered study.
This means online study does not count towards the pathway requirements.
Studying English under the Adult English Migrant Program (AMEP) counts towards these SHEV pathway requirements if your study meets the requirements listed above (full time study, on campus and leading to a Certificate I outcome).
More information on the AMEP is available here.