The Scholarship for Refugee Nurses program will see 10 refugees and asylum seekers who are registered nurses in their home country undertake the International Adaptation Program for free.
Following completion, the nurses will be eligible to work in Australian healthcare settings such as hospitals.
MercyCare’s Employment Pathways help refugees and asylum seekers to identify their skills and interests and match them to available work opportunities.
“Together with ongoing support from MercyCare to help people with requirements such as to provide the appropriate documentation and access English language support, it means they don’t have to do it on their own,” MercyCare Employment Liaison Officer Jacqui Whelan said.
“As a refugee or asylum seeker new to Western Australia, it can be a daunting process to register to practice your profession locally.
“There is so much to navigate and understand, while also adjusting to settling in a new country, as well as the overwhelming financial barrier.
“This pilot program offers a clear path to build on existing professional skills and transfer them to the local context.”
Jacqui added that many refugees and asylum seekers bring existing skills and qualifications when they come to Australia and are eager to join the workforce.
“They are yearning to use their skills to help others and be contributing members in their new community,” she said.
“In the case of registered nurses, it’s a perfect scenario to gain meaningful employment whilst helping alleviate pressure on the Western Australian health system.”
ECU School of Nursing and Midwifery executive dean Professor Karen Strickland said the scholarship helps address the challenges faced by refugee nurses in gaining registration to practice in Australia.
“Our course at ECU helps those nurses gain registration to allow them to practice and make a significant contribution to our community health.
“Furthermore, we want to help those refugees who are part of our nursing community to settle in Australia and be welcomed into our community.”