The Labor Government will invest $6.6 million to support the creation of innovative, sustainable employment projects for underemployed migrant and refugee job seekers.
The Migrant Communities Employment Fund (MCEF) will be available over two years and migrant community groups, employment services providers and employers are encouraged to be involved.
Under the MCEF employer organisations will receive funding to develop and implement innovative projects that help migrant and refugee job seekers prepare for and gain employment.
Labor’s priority is to ensure that all Australians who can work, benefit from the dignity, security and independence that a job can bring.
It is in the nation’s interest to ensure we’re utilising the productive capacity of each and every individual, including recent migrants and refugees.
We should never underestimate how difficult it is for someone to leave their extended family, their home country, their job, to start their new life here in Australia.
We want to do everything we can to help recent migrants and refugees to find and keep a job so they can provide for their family and contribute fully to society.
Approximately one quarter (26.1 per cent) of Australia’s total population were born overseas and the most recent comprehensive survey of recent migrant labour force data shows that recent migrants have significantly higher unemployment rates.
ABS Characteristics of Recent Migrants Survey in November 2010 showed that the unemployment rate for recent migrants was 8.5 per cent, compared to 4.6 per cent for the Australian-born population.
While over half (65 per cent) of all recent migrants had a non-school qualification before arrival only 51 per cent of these had used their highest non-school qualification in their first job in Australia.
Difficulties with language are a major barrier for some recent migrants to gaining work. The unemployment rate for recent migrants from other than main English-speaking countries was higher (10 per cent) than for those from a main English speaking country (5 per cent).
A key focus of the MCEF will be to encourage effective engagement between employers and employment service providers to:
- improve employment outcomes for refugee and migrant job seekers;
- increase the capacity of employers to employ refugee and migrant workers;
- improve understanding of how to best support migrant and refugee job seekers and their employers; and
- provide best practice models that could be replicated to other locations and groups of migrants and refugees.
MCEF is designed to complement and enhance existing government programs that assist migrants and refugees, such as Humanitarian Settlement Services and the Adult Migrant English program (AMEP).
Organisations funded under the MCEF will be expected to partner with other groups to deliver projects.
These include Job Services Australia and Disability Employment Services providers, education and training providers, government agencies, local government, local employers and community groups.
Examples of projects that may be suitable for funding include those that provide opportunities for migrant and refugee people to:
- access suitable training (including English language training);
- access mentoring support;
- participate in work experience and training in Australian workplace culture;
- access employment opportunities; and
- receive employment support and post placement support.
Projects can be targeted to assist first and second generation migrants.
Detailed guidelines are currently being finalised and will be available at www.deewr.gov.au/mcef
MEDIA CONTACT: Kimberley Gardiner 0427 138 106