People who arrive under Australia’s Humanitarian Program display considerable personal courage, often having overcome extraordinary hardship and traumatic situations. While there are costs involved in resettling refugees, they bring significant benefits to Australia.
This research therefore seeks to answer the question: what are the economic, social and civic contributions to Australia of first and second generation Humanitarian Program entrants? It involves analysis of Census data, interviews with families and in-depth discussions with organisations such as employment, education and refugee service providers.
- The research found the overwhelming picture, when one takes the longer term perspective of changes over the working lifetime of Humanitarian Program entrants and their children, is one of considerable achievement and contribution.
- The Humanitarian Program yields a demographic dividend because of a low rate of settler loss, relatively high fertility rate and a high proportion of children who are likely to work the majority of their lives in Australia. It finds evidence of increasing settlement in non-metropolitan areas which creates social and economic benefits for local communities.
- Humanitarian entrants help meet labour shortages, including in low skill and low paid occupations. They display strong entrepreneurial qualities compared with other migrant groups, with a higher than average proportion engaging in small and medium business enterprises.
- Humanitarian settlers also benefit the wider community through developing and maintaining economic linkages with their origin countries. In addition, they make significant contributions through volunteering in both the wider community and within their own community groups.
The research provides valuable insight for all organisations that assist with and plan for the settlement of Humanitarian Program entrants and seek to enhance their contributions to Australian society.
SOURCE: Graeme Hugo, National Centre for Social Applications of Geographical Information Systems, University of Adelaide for the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, June 2011