Extract from an article byResearch Fellow, Research & Policy Centre, Brotherhood of St Laurence and Honorary Researcher, Melbourne Social Equity Institute, University of Melbourne
Claims that Middle Eastern migrants are “piling on to the dole queue” are misleading. The data actually shows that, after an initial period of relatively high unemployment, labour force participation and employment rates amongst migrant communities eventually reach parity with the rest of the population.
Recently released labour force data indicates that people born in North Africa and the Middle East have unemployment rates of 33.5% during the first five years of settlement in Australia.
Settling well in Australia often takes time for people from migrant backgrounds. The first few years can involve significant personal, social and economic transition. Refugees, in particular, can face challenges in dealing with the trauma of forced displacement.
Discrimination based on race in the Australian labour market is also real, as evidenced by study after study. A ‘visible difference’ (such as skin colour or religious attire) can negatively affect candidates’ chances for a job.
Not surprisingly, then, recent arrivals from North Africa and the Middle East have low labour force participation rates during early settlement – just 38.2% for those who arrived within the last five years. But this rises rapidly to 54.6% for those who arrived 5-9 years ago. By the time they have been in Australia 15-19 years, labour force participation (66.2%) approaches the overall rate in Australia (67.9%) [continues …]
Having a job is not just a good thing for migrants – Australia needs migrant employment to stimulate economic growth. The Australian Government’s intergenerational reports and theProductivity Commission have called this the “3Ps” – population, participation and productivity. With an ageing population, migration is needed to boost Australia’s labour supply and contribute to innovation.
Making the labour market more inclusive of people from all cultural backgrounds will help to reduce recruitment and workplace barriers for migrants.
As current research has shown, this requires an appropriate mix of enabling policies, tailored jobseeker support and engagement with employers. Such measures are critical for Australia to continue to realise the social and economic benefits of migration.
SOURCE: van Kooy, John. “Middle Eastern migrants aren’t ‘piling on to the dole queue’” The Conversation, 8 February 2017.
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The Brotherhood of St Laurence acknowledges and recognises the Traditional Owners of the land upon which we live and work, and we pay our respects to their Elders both past and present
Produced by the librarians at the Brotherhood of St Laurence in Melbourne, Australia