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Humanitarian migrants, work and economic security on the urban fringe

How policies and perceptions shape opportunities

7 Nov 2018

Australia is in the midst of a national conversation about population growth and immigration, with a focus on social cohesion and integration. At the same time, Australia’s humanitarian program has shifted towards an emphasis on temporary protection, place-based resettlement and prioritising the economic contributions of refugees and people seeking asylum.

Fast-growing urban fringe localities, with significant pressure on services and infrastructure, are often at the forefront of dealing with these challenges. We draw on 23 interviews with service providers, local government personnel, policymakers, employers and community-based organisations in the City of Hume. We asked them about their perspectives on policy and regulatory influences on the economic security of humanitarian entrants, and local responses to humanitarian settlement.

Our analysis considers local stakeholders’ various understandings, roles, capacities and constraints in the context of federal policies and national debates. This report offers insights into how service providers, community groups and policy makers respond to increasingly diverse local populations, including newly arriving humanitarian migrants, to foster economic security and social inclusion. Rather than focusing solely on employment, we use a broader definition of ‘economic security’ that also embraces the economic and social protections that enable people to plan for the future (Bowman & van Kooy 2016).

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