License to Skill: Asylum seeker support will benefit entire NSW community


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Helping asylum seekers to improve their work skills and to obtain training will not only help them to rebuild their lives in Australia, it will boost local economies – according to the Sydney Alliance.

Sydney Alliance Spokesperson Ruth Cohen today welcomed NSW Minister for Skills and Deputy Premier John Barilaro's announcement of a $27 million skills and training package for asylum seekers and refugees.

“Asylum seekers and refugees overwhelmingly want to make a contribution to the local communities that they settle, but they need assistance to get a start in the workforce,” Ms Cohen said.

“This package of measures from the NSW Government will give asylum seekers and refugees a license to skill.

“It will provide opportunities for willing workers to update their existing skills, learn new ones and get qualifications specific for the Australian labour market.”

The NSW Government package includes:

  • Recognition of qualifications received overseas;
  • Free training up to Certificate IV for all asylum seekers and refugees, including those on Bridging visas and Temporary Protection Visas;
  • A refugees pathways program, to provide skills assessments, literacy, numeracy, English and preparation for study and work; and
  • A support fund, which will provide extra support for those needing assistance with basic study or work-related expenses.

Ms Cohen said the Sydney Alliance had been lobbying for the NSW Government to provide training assistance to asylum seekers, and was delighted Deputy Premier Barilaro had taken the issue seriously.

"Sydney Alliance would like to recognise the critical and tireless leadership of the Asylum Seeker Interagency without which this progress would not be possible. Service providers who do direct service with people seeking asylum are critical to the day to day welfare of thousands of people seeking asylum living in our city and across NSW. 

“We know from decades of experience how refugee communities can make a positive contribution to the Australian economy, and enrich Australian life.  This investment from the NSW Government will pay enormous dividends over the years to come.”



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