Journal article

Building a new life in Australia: introducing the longitudinal study of humanitarian migrants

30 Sep 2014

Introduces a study aimed to shed light on the settlement pathways and outcomes of newly arrived humanitarian migrants, focusing particularly on the factors that promote or hinder a successful transition.


Building a New Life in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Humanitarian Migrants is a newly initiated study that aims to better understand the factors that aid or hinder the successful settlement of humanitarian migrants in Australia, and to provide an evidence base to inform policy and program development. This ground-breaking longitudinal study will employ annual data collections over five years to trace the settlement journey of humanitarian migrants from their arrival in Australia through to their eligibility for citizenship. All study participants have received a permanent humanitarian visa enabling them to settle in Australia, granted either before their arrival in Australia as part of Australia's refugee program, or since their arrival, through Australia's asylum seeker humanitarian program. Study participants have come from a diverse range of backgrounds and a multitude of migration pathways.

Three broad research questions guide the study:

  • What are the settlement outcomes of humanitarian migrants? How are they faring in terms of their English language proficiency, housing circumstances, labour force participation, use of qualifications, income, physical and mental health, community engagement, citizenship and level of satisfaction with life in Australia?
  • How does access to and use of government and non-government services and welfare benefits contribute to humanitarian migrants' successful settlement?
  • Do the settlement experiences and outcomes of humanitarian migrants vary according to the differing migration pathways taken?

The Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) has been commissioned by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) (formerly the Department of Immigration and Citizenship [DIAC]) to undertake and manage the project. Colmar Brunton Social Research, in conjunction with Multicultural Marketing and Management, is the fieldwork agency undertaking the data collection for the project. From April 2014, responsibility for the study moved from the DIBP to the Department of Social Services.

Please note: the research report released in November 2017 can be accessed here

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