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

Streaming under Jobactive

Streaming and the Job Seeker Classification Instrument

Under Jobactive, the Job Seeker Classification Instrument (JSCI) is used to allocate job seekers to one of the first two levels of employment assistance, Stream A or B. Job seekers who have complex or multiple barriers to employment may be identified as requiring more support under Stream C, through a more comprehensive assessment known as an Employment Services Assessment.

However, feedback for this report indicates that newly arrived refugees and migrants are being incorrectly streamed into the lowest support category, despite needing significant support. The feedback from the Fairfield LGA was that, without improvement to assessment procedures, those from refugee and migrant backgrounds will continue to be misidentified.

As a result, many people are unlikely to receive adequate support and instead become subject to income support exclusion periods.

The feedback indicates that refugee and migrant jobseekers who are illiterate or have very basic English are left with minimal or no support. As one community service provider describes:

Most of our clients who cannot speak a word of English are streamed A to Jobactive which has the same level of reporting requirements as an Australian born person. So there is your first barrier. And how easy is it to get someone re-streamed? They will take what Department of Human Services have streamed and said that’s it. There is no initiative on their part to go back and re-stream. This is purely compliance.

Even though Jobactive provides a framework for reassessment of the jobseeker, many report that the Jobactive providers simply do not re-stream even if job seekers grossly differ in need for support than their initial designated stream through DHS.

Disability and Jobactive streaming

A particular issue is the assessment of clients with disabilities. Case studies from Fairfield LGA suggest that jobseekers with severe disabilities are not supported by the Disability Employment Services or do not receive a Disability Support Pension. Several clients have either been incorrectly assessed or not assessed at all by the Employment Services Assessment, a specialised assessment process carried out by DHS for their medical conditions or disability. Instead, they are expected to attend the compulsory Jobactive appointments.

I was referred to Jobactive service and was made to sign a job plan agreement. Prior to signing the agreement, I told the Jobactive provider that I have permanent medical issues such as renal impairment, gouty arthritis, pulmonary hypertension, post trauma experiences and stress disorder. I presented my medical report/ certificate as evidence to the provider. However, I was advised by the Jobactive provider that I still need to contact 20 employers per month, attend regular appointments, attend interviews, attend literacy and numeracy language courses for 40 hours per fortnight as compulsory. When I told the provider [that] I don’t know how to look for work due to my limited English language and perhaps more importantly due to my medical conditions, I was told by the provider that my Centrelink payment will cease if I don’t meet the above-mentioned requirements. I was told therefore to study and look for jobs regardless of my medical condition to avoid cessation of my payment. But I am constantly stressed and this is taking a significant toll on my health and wellbeing.

— A 63-year- old Karen humanitarian arrival from Fairfield LGA

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