Refugee employment experience: struggles, strategies and solutions

Refugee settlement Refugees Job searching Barriers to work Labour market Unemployment Australia

This report investigates the struggles and challenges refugees face in finding work in Australia. The aim of the report is to highlight the refugee perspective on working and looking for work by listening to what refugees themselves say about their job seeking efforts and their experiences in the labour market.

Previous research on refugee employment challenges has rarely meaningfully engaged with the perspectives of refugees themselves. This is not only morally problematic but can lead to misunderstanding of important dynamics and neglect of the diversity of refugee experiences.

This research project is therefore based on in-depth qualitative interviews with 40 refugees from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran about their experiences of looking for work in Australia. The interviews were loosely structured in a narrative manner designed to allow refugees to tell their own stories, on their own terms. The interviewees were recruited to reflect the experiences of diverse demographic groups.

Topic covered in the report include:

  • the importance of work and effects of long-term unemployment
  • strategies refugees employ in seeking employment and their reflections on their effectiveness
  • barriers and obstacles to employment
  • the forms of support available to support refugee jobseekers and how these are experienced by refugees themselves, and
  • recommendations for improvements to service provision in this area.
Publication Details
Access Rights Type: