Settlement services enhanced for migrants

Date: Jun 22, 2012

Migrants hoping to set up a new life for themselves in Australia are to be given better access to settlement services under new plans unveiled by the government.

For many migrants, integrating into Australian society can be a challenge, so more funding has been announced to make the process easier for those involved.

Chris Bowen, minister for immigration and citizenship, said that the funding should help assist new arrivals find employment, as well as access to training and education.

"Settlement services make a very real difference to the lives of many of our new arrivals, helping them to adjust to life in Australia and contribute to the community," he commented.

"This is about getting people ready for work, getting kids into school, and making sure they have every opportunity to make a success of life in Australia, further enhancing the productivity of our migration program."

Minister for multicultural affairs Kate Lundy, who jointly announced the measures, said that the services are designed to help migrants build on their existing skills, as well as learn new ones.

Furthermore, the government is hoping to empower migrants so they become more self-reliant and forge better lives for themselves and their families.

As of July 1, a total of 97 projects worth $39 million will be funded under the Settlement Grants Program, which was designed to help those relocating to Australia acquire the skills and knowledge they need to fully participate in the community.

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) runs a number of seminars all over Australia to assist people with their visa applications.

Once potential applicants have met with officers from the department, they might want to follow up any concerns they might have with migration lawyers.

Representatives from the DIAC will be visiting Emerald, Blackwater and Capella from June 26-28 where they will be on hand to discuss changes to migration that come into force on July 1.

Among the reforms is the introduction of a new online service to connect Australian employers with potential skilled migrants, which should make the process of filling positions much smoother.

In addition, the pathway to gaining permanent residency would be streamlined for those on temporary skilled 457 visas.

Employees are now required to put forward an expression of interest if they are hoping to relocate to Australia, which means they can register their details online and be contacted by any prospective employers.