Friday, May 6, 2011

A world of long-term welfare for "refugees" in Australia

Muslims particularly useless

MORE than 60 per cent of refugees to Australia have failed to get a job after five years, according to a damning Federal Government report into the humanitarian settlement program. And 83 per cent of those households now rely on welfare payments for income.

The greatest unemployment rate was recorded among new arrivals from Iraq and Afghanistan, with less than one in 10 finding full-time work and 93.7 per cent of households receiving Centrelink payments.

The statistics are contained in a Department of Immigration and Citizenship report released last Friday under the cover of the royal wedding. It is the first investigation into settlement of refugees in more than a decade.

The study of more than 8500 humanitarian entrants revealed that only 31 per cent of humanitarian refugees were considered "employed" after five years.

The remainder were unemployed, retired, studying full time, engaged in caring duties, doing voluntary work or trying to start a business from which they had yet to receive income. More than 60 per cent of those people without jobs had a poor command of English.

"Humanitarian entrants are most likely to be unemployed, even after five years of settlement," the report said. "There needs to be a greater understanding of migrants' personal or household dependency on Centrelink payments."

Statistics for skilled migrant intake and family migrant intake were more positive, with 84 per cent of skilled migrants working and a little over 50 per cent of the family migrants employed.

The report did find positive outcomes for humanitarian entrants, with almost a quarter completing a trade or university qualification within five years of arriving.

The Federal Opposition said the report was a "shocking wake-up call" for the Government's settlement services policy. "Low levels of employment, welfare dependency, lower income levels and poor English skills are a toxic social cocktail that can lead to enclaving and serious intergenerational social problems." Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison said.

Parliamentary Secretary for Citizenship Kate Lundy has said the Government was trying to improve conditions for refugees. "While the settlement outcomes for refugees improve over time, the report does find that there are difficulties, especially in the early years, in securing stable employment," she said.


"Asylum seekers" to be sent to Papua New Guinea?

AUSTRALIA could end up sending asylum seekers to Papua New Guinea, as the Gillard Government ramps up desperate efforts to find a regional solution to the influx of boat arrivals.

Speculation is mounting that the Government may strike a deal with PNG to reopen the Manus Island detention centre, after it confirmed last night that Immigration Department head Andrew Metcalfe had visited the country earlier this week.

Manus Island, located hundreds of kilometres off the northeast coast of PNG, housed refugees under the Howard government. The facilities have been mothballed for years.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard and her Immigration Minister Chris Bowen are desperate to find a solution to the unending flow of asylum seekers who are risking their lives coming to Australia by boat.

Before last year's election the government announced it would negotiate with East Timor to host a regional processing centre there.

Dubbed the "Dili Solution", the policy proved anything but, as negotiations failed.

According to a spokesman for Mr Bowen, the Government is "engaging with countries across the region about tackling people smuggling and irregular migration, following the endorsement of the regional cooperation framework in Bali". "That work continues," the spokesman said.

An Immigration Department spokesman said Mr Metcalfe played "an important role in advancing dialogue on immigration and border security issues in the region".

"And as part of his role a head of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, regularly travels overseas to meet with his counterparts," the spokesman said. "He was in Papua New Guinea earlier this week as part of his regular meetings with PNG immigration and foreign affairs officials. "Australia is working with many countries including PNG to progress outcomes from the Bali process ministerial conference."


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