Unemployment is the biggest threat to migrant communities and their ability to actively participate in Australian society. People from refugee and migrant backgrounds face significant challenges in gaining employment and integrating socially within the mainstream society for a number of reasons including, having poor social networks, low English language proficiency, lack of local work experience, non-recognition of qualifications, and high levels of discrimination in the labour market.
Although many migrants and refugees successfully gain employment within the first few years of arrival, a small group continues to struggle and is at elevated risk of remaining long-term on welfare. Actuarial analysis by the Department of Social Service (DSS) reveals that on average, migrants and refugees who currently receive income support are likely to be on income support for 30 years over their lifetime. The MED Project was funded through the Commonwealth Government under the DSS’s ‘Try, Test and Learn’ Fund Tranche 2 designed to support people at risk of long-term welfare dependence. It was a joint initiative of the Metropolitan Migrant Resource Centre (MMRC) and Multicultural Futures (MF). Business Foundations (BF), was a partner in developing and delivering part of the intervention. The Centre for Social Impact (CSI UWA) evaluated the project.