Unemployment rate for Australian refugees "unacceptable": Minister

Source: Xinhua| 2020-02-07 10:04:14|Editor: zyl
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CANBERRA, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) -- The Australian Government has flagged overhauling English training for refugees in a bid to reduce the "unacceptable" unemployment level in the community.

In a speech on Friday, Alan Tudge, the Minister for Population and Acting Minister for Immigration, said that the government would address the "systematic" unemployment crisis for refugees.

According to government data, 77 percent of refugees remain unemployed 12 months after their arrival in Australia.

After three years unemployment remained at 38 percent and after a decade it was 22 percent.

Only 21 percent of new arrivals have a "functional" level of English despite having access to free language tuition.

"Unemployment at this rate is not good enough. Long-term-welfare dependence is debilitating for anyone, be they a refugee, long-term citizen or anyone else. We have to do better," Tudge said.

"Data shows that when identifying reasons for finding it difficult to get a job, close to 60 percent of humanitarian entrants said 'my English isn't good enough yet'.

"There is no other indicator which is as stark."

In response the government will trial English language training in overseas refugee camps to up-skill refuges before they arrive in Australia.

A Refugee and Migrant Services Advisory Council will be established to encourage businesses to capitalize on the skills of refugees.

Australia currently accepts approximately 18,750 refugees every year. The government aims to have 50 percent of new arrivals settle in regional areas by 2022 in order to reduce the pressure of population growth on major cities.

The initiatives have been welcomed by the Migration Council of Australia.

"It's critical that we set people up to succeed and reach their full potential, and getting a job is one of the biggest and most important milestones for refugees in their settlement process," chief executive Carla Wilshire told News Corp Australia.

"We need to see employment as a key part of settlement and a goal from day one. People arrive wanting to contribute and wanting to provide for their families and the onus on us is to find better ways of supporting them to do that."