Refugee Council of Australia
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Not Working: Experiences of refugees and migrants with Jobactive

Interpretation and translation

Under-use of interpreters and lack of translated materials

Jobactive providers are required to provide access to an interpreter. However, often clients are not aware of their right to request free interpreter services. The feedback collected for this report indicates that most Jobactive providers are not using interpreters in their meetings with clients, including where clients are signing binding documents such as Job Plans.

Every time I attend my appointment, I request an interpreter service but my request is ignored by the Jobactive service and no interpreter is provided.

— A Burmese refugee from Fairfield LGA

RCOA and FMI also note the lack of translated factsheets on how to report to Jobactive and how to meet other requirements. The move to using technology such as smartphones also presents a barrier in providing information in other languages. Migrant and refugee clients have expressed frustration that Jobactive providers can suspend a person’s pay without properly informing them of the issue and their obligations in their first language.

It took us 6 months for them to get a translated document on the Department of Employment website. And it’s only because the Department of Social Services who we said [to] ‘look, we’re going to go to the Minister, we’re told that Department of Employment refused outright’. This is a national website; [it] had not had one translated document on their website. And [they] did it very begrudgingly to be honest. So, you have none of the Jobactive [having] any cultural competencies.

— A community service provider, Perth

There continues to be a lack of recognition of the need for and use of translating and interpreting services. Previously, under JSA funding there was an additional Employment Pathway Fund credit of $1,000 per participant provided specially for interpreting costs for non-English speaking clients. However, there is no provision for this under the new arrangements.

I would like an interpreter especially when I am signing the job plans. I want my rights to be explained to me and what service I can expect from Jobactive. I need someone to help me overcome my barriers to employment.

— A Syrian refugee from Fairfield LGA

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