As the head of an organisation of 1200-plus employees, I am always looking for ways we can drive innovation, improve employee retention and bring new skills and resourcefulness into our talent-pool.
MercyCare has found by incorporating new Australians into our workforce, we are able to contribute to each of these outcomes.
Workplaces can benefit in many ways from employing refugees and asylum seekers.
- People from a refugee background are loyal and actually have lower turnover rates than the general population.
- The life experiences of many migrants often result in a wealth of knowledge and high levels of resourcefulness that would be to the advantage of anyone that hires them.
- While they may be working on improving their knowledge of English, this also means they speak more than one language, a skill that can be beneficial in many industries.
- The business case for a diverse workforce is also a positive one; diversity has been found to drive innovation and even profitability.
It is important to understand the definition of an asylum seeker and refugee.
Asylum seekers are people who have left their home country in search of protection for certain reasons and refugees are asylum seekers who have been determined by either their host nation or the UNHCR as fitting the international definition of a ‘refugee’.
Asylum seekers may have applied for protection as a refugee but still be awaiting determination of their status.
All refugees and most people who have sought asylum here in Australia are able to work here.
Most people imagine the process of hiring an asylum seeker or refugee as a complex maze of paper work, red tape and confusing jargon. As the head of an organisation that has hired a number of people who come from such backgrounds, I can tell you, the process isn’t as onerous as you’d think.
While there are a number of different visas, depending on the stage of a person’s protection application and other factors, the Australian government provides a free online service known as VEVO which can be used to check an individual’s visa status and working conditions.
As a founding member of the Unity Employment Network, MercyCare encourages businesses to consider employing new Australians.
VEVO provides all the information an employer requires to know whether or not a person can work in Australia and if there are any conditions they should be aware of.
Businesses looking for new staff, or interested in establishing internships, apprenticeships, work experience programs, work trials and volunteer programs that will assist jobseekers from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds are able to partner with MercyCare to find HR solutions.
Having had insight into the job seekers who come through our Jobs and Skills Centre, the only such centre in Western Australia to work with people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, I know that many new Australians have plenty to offer potential employers.
In the past year, a number of asylum seekers, refugees and migrants whose first interactions with MercyCare were as service users, have impressed MercyCare hiring selection panels so much that they have become employees.
New starters that worked alongside our case workers and attended job readiness workshops run by MercyCare are now working within our Disability Services, Community Aged Care, Residential Aged Care and Information Technology departments.