BNLA website screenshotWhat is Building a New Life in Australia?

The Building a New Life in Australia (BNLA) study tracks the settlement journey of humanitarian entrants in Australia from when they come to Australia until the time they become able to become citizens. It aims to identify factors that help or hinder the successful settlement of humanitarian migrants in Australia. The research will also help improve policy development and program delivery.

Scope of the study

The study focuses on three questions:

  • What are humanitarian migrants’ settlement outcomes; in particular, their English language proficiency, housing situation, labour force participation, use of qualifications, income, health, community engagement, citizenship, and level of satisfaction with life in Australia?
  • What role does access to and use of government and non-government services or welfare benefits play in humanitarian migrants’ successful settlement?
  • Do the settlement outcomes of humanitarian migrants vary according to the migration pathway taken?

How the study is being conducted

The study is being undertaken in five waves of interviews and phone calls, between 2013-2018. The first wave of interviewees included more than 1,500 individuals and their families (totalling close to 2,400 respondents), from a total of 50 different countries, who have been granted a permanent humanitarian visa to live in Australia.

The findings of Wave 1 detail the complex lives of recently arrived humanitarian migrants. It reveals the disadvantage and vulnerability experienced by many. Many reported having low levels of English language proficiency, and often reported a lack of education before entering Australia. Others spoke of the violence and trauma before arriving in Australia, and the separation of families.

The data includes some positive findings so far. These include a high uptake of English language classes and improvements in English language proficiency, improvements in health, and feelings of belonging and welcome.

The study will continue until 2018, and will continue to provide its findings to government and researchers to understand the barriers that exist to building a new life in Australia.