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Migrants struggle in regional labour markets

13 January 20140 comments

shutterstock_107326340Skilled migrants and their families are at risk of not integrating into regional labour markets and communities, according to new research.

A study, commissioned by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), found that qualified migrants and their families of skilled migrants often struggled to integrate into communities, particularly in regional Australia.

The research proposed that skilled migration be approached from a family unit perspective as spouses of skilled migrants are often also well-qualified, highly-skilled professionals with much to offer.

NCVER Research General Manager Sue Ferguson said settlement difficulties are compounded in regional areas with limited labour markets and few strategies in place to support transition for skilled migrants.

“In many ways we need to apply the same sort of support humanitarian migrants receive to the skilled migrant program,” Ms Ferguson said.

The study centred on Shepparton because the town has an expanding number of migrants from new and emerging communities.

Lead author Professor Sue Webb of Monash University said the research did identify some good practices that enhanced some individual migrants’ employability.

“These involved support in relation to job seeking, local work experience, volunteering and an understanding of specific professional networks and labour markets,” Professor Webb said.

“Skilled migrants are very adept at developing their capabilities and building new networks to gain work and integrate. Organisations would do well to recognise and build on such resourcefulness.

“In the TAFE sector, a strategy of encouraging skilled migrants to participate in organised volunteer programs developed for humanitarian migrants, also facilitated the transition of some skilled migrants into a new field of development,” Professor Webb said.