MigrationMore opportunities for refugees to fill critical Australian labour shortages

More opportunities for refugees to fill critical Australian labour shortages

The Australian Government has partnered with global skilled refugee employment organisation Talent Beyond Boundaries (TBB) to provide more opportunities for employment in a range of critical roles in Australia through the expanded Skilled Refugee Pilot program.

Building on the existing Pilot, which commenced in 2021, the expansion will allow candidates to gain employment in a range of new occupations, allow skills recognition, and provide additional visa flexibility for candidates inside Afghanistan. 

The size of the Pilot program will also increase – from the current allocation of 100 primary places – with the addition of a further 50 primary places to candidates from Afghanistan and a further 50 primary places to candidates from Ukraine, taking the Pilot to 200 primary places.

Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs Alex Hawke says this agreement follows Talent Beyond Boundaries’ demonstrated global success in matching skilled refugees with employers and their ambition to provide opportunities for those fleeing conflict including in Afghanistan and Ukraine.

“We have one of the most generous refugee resettlement programs in the world but we shouldn’t limit our thinking to that program,” Minister Hawke said.

“The Morrison Government recognises that in many cases refugees come with a range of skills and qualifications that are highly sought after in Australia, and where they are able to, we should do everything in our power to support them to use those skills,” he said.

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Talent Beyond Boundaries Global CEO Steph Cousins says the program is already providing real opportunities to skilled refugees and Australian employers through a straightforward job matching service.

“The Government’s Skilled Refugee Pilot Program recognises that many refugees have skills and talents that make them an incredible asset,” he said.

“When we give displaced people opportunities to move internationally for work, they’re able to resume their careers, rebuild their lives, and enrich our communities in the process,” Ms Cousins said.

Managing Director of Bluemar Consulting Engineers Dr Shaun Meares has worked with Talent Beyond Boundaries to employ Maya in Esperance, Western Australia.

“As well as the obvious humanitarian outcomes, hiring a refugee adds further diversity of human capital and technical skills to our team. Attracting labour to regional Australia has always been difficult. The pilot program is an innovative way for us to grow our team and strengthen our business to the benefit of our regional community,” Dr Meares said.

“Maya is fitting right in. She’s not afraid to get her hands dirty (literally), she’s always up for a new challenge, and there are plenty of opportunities for her to adjust her technical skills to suit the Australian environment. The wonderful thing about engineering is that the underlying mathematics and science are a common language all around the world,” he said.

Maya is a Palestinian refugee from Lebanon and holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and a Master of Science in Civil Engineering. Maya is one of the first skilled refugees engaged under this pilot, having moved to Esperance, WA, with her husband and pre-school-aged son in December 2021.

“Being a refugee has always been a problem for me, but it was never a reason for giving up. I believed in myself and worked very hard to achieve my goals. Now, I am recognised as a professional civil engineer in Australia and looking forward to many more successful years,” Maya said.

The Talent Beyond Boundaries pilot outcomes will inform future migration program planning.

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