JRS Australia launches specialist Employment Program

23 June 2024

Related: Advocacy, Education

The recently launched specialist JRS Australia Employment Program supports refugees, people seeking asylum, and migrants in vulnerable situations navigate and find safe and secure work in the post-pandemic Australian labour market. 

The JRS Australia Employment Program constitutes an expansion of the Empowered To Work program, which assisted almost 400 people find employment between 2017 and 2019. 

JRS Australia works with approximately 4,000 people seeking asylum, refugees, and migrants in vulnerable situations each year. We know that they are skilled, entrepreneurial, and deeply motivated to contribute to the Australian community. We also know that being involved in safe and meaningful work helps people build a new life in Australia. It helps people build financial independence, confidence, new skills and can develop deep social connections. 

However, people seeking asylum, refugees, and migrants in vulnerable situations face significant and unique barriers to finding safe and secure work, including precarious visa status, language barriers, unrecognised education credentials, or exclusion from social security.  

In response, the specialist JRS Australia Employment Program:

  • connects participants to suitable education and training courses 
  • builds relationships with employers, social enterprises, and small businesses
  • provides job readiness skills such as resume and cover letter building 
  • educates participants on employee rights and responsibilities

The JRS Australia Employment Program currently works with thirty participants who do not have work, or access to Federal Government income support. Nobody in their immediate household has work or access to income support either. As the program develops, it will work with a larger number of participants. 

In the past year, the JRS Employment team have been able to assist Mohammad Hossein* on his job hunt. Mohammad is a humble and inspiring individual who has endured six years in detention. 

With our help and Mohammad’s determination, he has been able to gain full-time employment in the construction industry. Mohammad has been able to learn new skills, support his family, and carve out his own sense of belonging in his new environment. He has also expressed an interest in returning to formal study, specifically in the field of aged care, as a way to exercise his compassion towards others in the community and upskill for future career opportunities. 

While still living with the uncertainty of a Bridging Visa and the many restrictions that this carries, Mohammad’s future as a contributing member of Australian society remains uncertain. His journey towards employment and study has been challenging but we are proud to walk with him on this road. 

Thus far, the JRS Employment Program has assisted 70 people in 2021. 

If you are an employer who would like to support refugees, people seeking asylum, and migrants in situations of vulnerability to access to meaningful employment, you can express your interest here.

*Name has been changed for privacy reasons