Pandemic sees refugees and asylum seekers disproportionately affected in the labor market
The COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to refugees and asylum seekers in Australia suffering disproportionately and being excluded and marginalized from the labor market.
New research conducted by Monash Business School at Monash University and the University of Melbourne found that there had been a decline in jobs, overall job loss, competition and a increased discrimination against these groups, with employers opting for an “Australian first” mentality.
The researchers compiled their findings in the article titled “Exploring the impacts of the COVID-19 Crisis for the Employment Prospects of Refugees and People Asylum Seeking In Australia,” published today in the Australian Journal of Social Problems.
The results are based on 20 interviews with refugees and asylum seekers as well as 35 interviews with officials of Australian organizations that employ, supervise or assist them.
Lead author Diarmuid Cooney-O’Donoghue of Monash Business School said refugees and asylum seekers already had difficulty finding jobs, educational disadvantage, mental health issues and were often at risk of being underpaid because their qualifications and education in their home country are not recognized. by their host country and they lack strong bargaining power in the labor market.
“Sustainable employment is an important avenue for refugees and asylum seekers to integrate into their new communities and, of course, become self-reliant,” he said.
“The pandemic and its impact on the Australian economy have reduced employment prospects for these neglected minority groups, who are at high risk as they are often employed in precarious jobs and industries particularly affected by COVID-19, such as hospitality, taxi driving. , retail and construction. “
Of the interviews with refugees and asylum seekers, 15% were unemployed and 40% were in casual or short-term employment.
People with temporary protection visas or transitional visas were not eligible for JobSeeker or JobKeeper payments.
The majority of managers surveyed noted increased competition in the job market, with COVID-19 contributing to fewer published jobs and many job seekers willing to take less attractive jobs.
“Where there is a very high degree of competition for jobs and a lot of more skilled and recently unemployed job seekers, the refugee candidate will end up going to the bottom of the pile,” one said. to researchers.
Some managers also spoke of prejudices about employment opportunities, regardless of their experience and qualifications, with barriers to discrimination by postcode and name in employment.
The research team suggested four strategies to improve employment prospects:
- Pathways to permanent residence and citizenship for asylum seekers;
- Access to health care and a financial safety net;
- Online training and education; and
- Social shopping.
“By providing more avenues of access to permanent residence and citizenship for asylum seekers with temporary protection visas, it would significantly increase their employment opportunities,” Cooney-O ‘said. Donoghue.
“At the same time, it could help Australian businesses offset the loss of migrant workers due to COVID-19. “
The researchers also suggested that temporary visa holders should also be able to access Medicare to protect their physical and mental well-being and be able to go through retraining processes to improve their employability.
The policy response most frequently cited by managers was social procurement, which would see employment opportunities for disadvantaged and marginalized groups specifically set aside within governments or other organizations.
For example, the Victorian Level Crossing Removal Agency offers work experience opportunities in the infrastructure sector and upgrading to refugees who have previous engineering skills and experience in their home country as part of the EPIC program.
“The Australian government – and indeed state governments – have spent billions of dollars to prevent the labor market collapse over the past 18 months,” Cooney-O’Donoghue said.
“It is the responsibility of governments to ensure that significant support is provided to the most vulnerable, disadvantaged and marginalized groups.
“Refugees and asylum seekers are a potentially untapped asset for the Australian economy. By better integrating them into the labor market, we could benefit from their new knowledge, skills and professional experience.
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Diarmuid Cooney ‐ O’Donoghue et al, Exploring the impacts of the COVID ‐ 19 crisis on the employment prospects of refugees and asylum seekers in Australia, Australian Journal of Social Problems (2021). DOI: 10.1002 / ajs4.177
Provided by Monash University
Quote: Pandemic Sees Refugees and Asylum Seekers Disproportionately Affected in Labor Market (2021, September 1) Retrieved September 1, 2021 from https://phys.org/news/2021-09-pandemic-refugees -people-asylum-disproportionately.html
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