Settlement interrupted: the lasting impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on newly arrived young people in Victoria

Refugee families Refugee settlement Refugee youth Refugees Migrants COVID-19 Pandemics Disease management Victoria

In the first half of 2021, the Centre for Multicultural Youth held consultations with both newly arrived young people, and the sectors that support them, to understand more about the legacy and ongoing impacts of the pandemic on their lives. Researchers wanted to know they how they were faring approximately one year on from the extended lockdowns of 2020 in Victoria. These consultations were held at a brief period in the first half of 2021, when restrictions had lifted in Victoria and life was beginning to resemble some form of ‘normality’. Since this time, further extended lockdowns have ensued, reminding us that as much as we look to recovery, the pandemic is far from behind us. Neither it seems are the effects on newly arrived young people’s lives.

What can we learn from newly arrived young people’s experiences at this unique time and the significant response of governments to these obstacles? And how do we ensure that newly arrived young people have every opportunity to thrive and participate fully in the community, even in the midst of a pandemic, now and in the future?

Key findings:

  • The pandemic is having an ongoing impact on newly arrived young people’s ability to settle well and build new lives in Victoria.
  • Newly arrived young people are experiencing particular challenges related to employment, education, mental health and social connectedness.
  • There is an urgent need to innovate in order to create positive outcomes for newly arrived young people, by learning from and building on government responses to the pandemic.
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