A possie in Aussie

February 7, 2009

Perhaps refugees can choose for themselves?

Filed under: Integration — Nayano @ 12:34 pm
Tags: , ,

A report, originally held back from public release by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, (probably an attempt to avert bloggers like this one from using the ‘failure’ as grist for the racist mill) reveals that one of the recent regional settlement programs initiated by the Department has been a failure.

The report concludes that some of the main reasons for the failure were the lack of information about and interpreters for the Togolese settlers, Ballarat’s bitterly cold winters, and the lack of employment.

This points to a failure on the part of settlement policy.

It is important to understand, however, that all other centres of regional settlement, such as Shepparton and Mt Gambier have experienced great success.

These centres have had newly arrived refugees directly settled by the Department, but there are other centres, such as Murray Bridge in South Australia to which refugees have relocated from the cities where they were originally settled.

Employment is, I believe, the most important factor in successful settlement, not only for financial reasons but also because of self-esteem, integration with other members of the workforce and the image of the refugees in the rest of the community.

Murray Bridge has experienced a rapid growth in self-settlement of Sudanese refugees, and the employment rate among them in that town is nearly 100%, and a recent survey conducted by an Adelaide University doctorate researcher found that nearly 70 per cent of them were satisfied with their current job there.

Findings from the same study found that 16.3 per cent of the Sudanese respondents living in Metropolitan Adelaide reported that they are unemployed, and spoke of their difficulties in finding suitable jobs. (Thanks to Mohana Raj Balasingam for permission to quote from his as-yet unpublished PhD thesis)

A DIAC funded survey undertaken in Murray Bridge revealed that the availability of jobs in the town was a major drawcard for the Sudanese in relocating.

Perhaps DIAC efforts should be directed to educating refugees about opportunities in regional areas, and funding them to relocate.

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