NSW government announces educational support for people seeking asylum

The majority of people seeking asylum currently living in the community on bridging and temporary visas face significant barriers to entering the workforce.

JRS welcomes the announcement by the NSW Government to allow asylum seekers access to subsidised training as part of the Smart and Skilled program.

“This announcement is the result of many months of advocacy on the part of agencies supporting asylum seekers in NSW and is an important step for people to begin the process of restoring dignity and meaning to their own lives,” said Maeve Brown, Manager of the Arrupe Project.

The majority of people seeking asylum currently living in the community on bridging and temporary visas face significant barriers to entering the workforce. Many need to develop new skills and, before this announcement, were unable access training programs.

As part of this announcement JRS also understands the NSW government will set up a new advisory service to assist and guide highly qualified people towards resuming their career.

“Many asylum seekers who were highly qualified in their homelands as nurses, doctors, engineers, accountants and lawyers, often find their qualifications are not recognised in Australia,” said JRS Assistant Director, Oliver White. “Hopefully this new service will go some way to remedying this situation.”

The announcement also provides huge opportunities for employers and the broader Australian community. As a new pool of dedicated candidates emerge from education and training opportunities, the community will be able to fill the positions in sectors where there are current shortages. These sectors include early childhood education, aged care and hospitality, as well as in trades, including bricklaying, plumbing and electrical work.

The eight agencies who collaborated to put the submission to the NSW government are:

• Asylum Seekers Centre
• Australian Red Cross
• Bridge for Asylum Seekers Foundation
• House of Welcome
• Jesuit Refugee Service
• NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors
• Refugee Council of Australia
• Settlement Services International

JRS commends the NSW government on their decision. For the people we work with, having access to the Smart and Skilled program and being able to find meaningful employment, means asylum seekers can gain a greater sense of belonging and enrichment in their new lives. It means they can find a social network, support their families, and contribute to the country they wish to call home.

For further information contact:

Oliver White, Assistant Director, Jesuit Refugee Service

(02) 9356 3888

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