Former South Sudanese refugees in Australia are grateful to be pursuing "the Australian dream" but are making plans to return to their homeland, now independent and in need of their skills.
South Sudanese people settling in Australia have faced and overcome various ordeals throughout their migration experience. Many came to Australia under humanitarian mechanisms and since their arrival have worked hard to build a new life. Now, as the prospects for South Sudan seem brighter, STATT has found that many are preparing themselves to commit to another challenge – helping develop and support their homeland.
A major result from this project is published here as The Last Mile: Experiences of Settlement and Attitudes to Return among People from South Sudan in Australia (16). We interviewed 78 South Sudanese Australian people from across the country. We spoke to them about their lives since coming to Australia and about how they plan to engage with South Sudan now and into the future. We complemented the interviews with an online poll of over 300 members of the South Sudanese diaspora in Australia. The results illustrate a group that has tremendous gratitude for the opportunity to settle in Australia, enthusiasm towards citizenship and great achievements in education. On the downside, experiences of discrimination have been widespread and many have faced frustration with finding employment suited to their education. Looking to the future, the majority are keen to return to South Sudan for the long term or permanently, primarily driven by a desire to contribute to development.