25 September 2023

Directorate talks up migrant language help

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The Community Services Directorate is to expand its support for employment and English-language courses for refugees, asylum-seekers and new migrants.

Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Rachel Stephen-Smith said many newly arrived migrants came with skills and work experience, but they faced barriers to entering employment and participating in the life of the community.

She said that as the ACT was a Refugee Welcome Zone, the Government was committed to improving employment support and English-language assistance.

Ms Stephen-Smith said the 2017–18 Budget included total funding of $1,392,000 over four years to achieve this.

She said this would enable the Multicultural Employment Service to case manage employment programs for refugees, asylum-seekers and people from non–English-speaking backgrounds; and the Migrant and Refugee Settlement Services would strengthen and expand current English-language programs, including a home tutor program.

Ms Stephen-Smith said in addition, the Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) would extend its existing English-language programs and the number of participants in the ACT Government’s Work Experience Support Program would be increased from 20 to 25.

“The English-language services are targeted to ACT Services Access Card holders, which means the services will support those asylum-seekers whose claims are currently being processed by the Commonwealth Government,” Ms Stephen-Smith said.

“As a Refugee Welcome Zone, it’s all about ensuring our jurisdiction does the right thing.”

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