Advertisement

Employment Aspirations of Former Refugees Settled in Australia: a Mixed Methods Study

  • Aparna Hebbani
  • Nigar G. Khawaja
Article

Abstract

The present study used a mixed method approach to understand the employment related aspirations of former refugees from Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Myanmar, resettled in Australia. Aspiration was defined as the difference between the current and future aspired job. First, a quantitative approach was used with 222 participants, who completed a questionnaire with the help of interpreters. Analysis of variance was used to examine if the aspirations varied on the basis of the country of origin. Participants from DRC and Myanmar had higher aspirations than those from Ethiopia. Graphic data indicated that in general all three groups aspired for professional and managerial jobs. Second, using a qualitative approach, 47 former refugees from these three countries were interviewed. Thematic analysis indicated that, in general, many participants wanted to pursue their own business. Moreover, a range of obstacles in achieving these goals also became apparent. Limited English language proficiency, lack of information about how to secure these jobs, and personal and family members’ ill health interfered in participants’ ability to secure their aspired job. Lastly, we offer a few recommendations for relevant stakeholders.

Keywords

Australia Ethiopia Congo Myanmar Aspirations Mixed method Employment Refugees 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the research assistants (Mairead MacKinnon, Dr. Yulin Liu, Lorena Hernandez, & Jane Wotherspoon) and partner organization (Access Community Services Ltd.) employees in the data collection process.

Funding information

This research project is supported by a 2-year Australian Research Council Linkage Project Grant LP120200076.

References

  1. Access Community Services Ltd. [ACSL]. (2018). Retrieved 10 October, 2018 from https://www.facebook.com/accesscommunityservicesltd/photos/a.418858858324938/968549130022572/?type=3&theater
  2. Ager, A., & Strang, A. (2008). Understanding integration: a conceptual framework. Journal of Refugee Studies, 21(2), 166–191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Australian Bureau of Statistics [ABS]. (2016). 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 28 November, 2018 from http://www.abs.gov.au/websitedbs/D3310114.nsf/Home/2016%20QuickStats.
  4. Chatloop. (2018). Retrieved 10 October, 2018 from https://www.chatloop.io/.
  5. Creswell, J. W. (1998). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five traditions. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  6. Creswell, J.W. (2009). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  7. Colic-Peisker, V. (2009). Visibility, settlement success and life satisfaction in three refugee communities in Australia. Ethnicities, 9(2), 175–199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Colic-Peisker, V., & Tilbury, F. (2007). Integration into the Australian labour market: the experience of three ‘visibly different’ groups of recently arrived refugees. International Migration, 45(1), 59–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Correa-Velez, I., Spaaij, R., & Upham, S. (2012). ‘We are not here to claim better services than any other’: social exclusion among men from refugee backgrounds in urban and regional Australia. Journal of Refugee Studies, 26(2), 163–186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Correa-Velez, I., Barnett, A. G., & Gifford, S. (2013). Working for a better life: longitudinal evidence on the predictors of employment among recently arrived refugee migrant men living in Australia. International Migration, 1–17.Google Scholar
  11. Denzin, N. K., & Lincoln, Y. S. (2011). The Sage handbook of qualitative research. Sage.Google Scholar
  12. Department of Education and Training. (2016). Adult English Migrant Program (AMEP). Canberra. Retrieved 28 November, 2018 from https://www.education.gov.au/adult-migrant-english-program-0.
  13. Department of Immigration and Border Protection [DIBP]. (2015). Fact sheet—Australia’s refugee and humanitarian programme. Retrieved 28 November, 2018 from https://www.geogspace.edu.au/verve/_resources/2.4.4.4_8_Refugee_migration_5.pdf.
  14. Department of Social Services [DSS]. (2006). Burmese Community Profile. Retrieved 3 December, 2018 from https://www.dss.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/11_2013/community-profile-burma.pdf
  15. DIAC. (2013). Annual report for 2012–13. Commonwealth of Australia.Google Scholar
  16. DIAC. (2014a). Community information summary: Democratic Republic of Congo-born. Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved 10 October, 2018 from http://www.dss.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/02_2014/democratic_republic_congo.pdf.
  17. DIAC. (2014b). Community information summary: Ethiopia-born. Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved 28 November, 2018 from http://www.dss.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/02_2014/ethiopia.pdf.
  18. DIAC. (2014c). Community information summary: Myanmar-born. Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved 10 October, 2018 from http://www.dss.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/02_2014/myanmar.pdf.
  19. Emily Griffith Training College (2016). Free English for refugees. Retrieved 10 October, 2018 from http://www.emilygriffith.edu/colorado-refugee-english-school.
  20. Ethiopia Forum. (2013). Gender roles in Ethiopia. Retrieved 10 October, 2018 from: https://ethiopiaforum.wordpress.com/2013/11/21/gender-roles-in-ethiopia/.
  21. Global Affairs Canada. (2018). Ethiopia. Retrieved 10 October, 2018 from: https://www.international.gc.ca/cil-cai/country_insights-apercus_pays/ci-ic_et.aspx?lang=eng.
  22. Hebbani, A. & Colic-Peisker, V. (2012). Communicating one’s way to employment: A case study of African settlers in Brisbane, Australia. Journal of Intercultural Studies, 33(5), 529-547.Google Scholar
  23. Hebbani, A., Obijiofor, L., & Bristed, H. (2012). Acculturation challenges that confront Sudanese former refugees in Australia. Journal of Intercultural Communication, 28(28).Google Scholar
  24. Hugo, G. (2011). A significant contribution: the economic, social and civic contributions of first and second generation humanitarian entrants: summary of findings, Commonwealth of Australia, DIAC, 2011. Retrieved 28 November, 2018 from https://www.dss.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/01_2014/economic-social-civic-contributions-booklet2011.pdf.
  25. Keppel, G. (1991). Design and analysis. A researcher’s handbook (p. 107). New Jersey: Prentice hall.Google Scholar
  26. Kostenko, W. (2009). Does labour market achievement matter for the wellbeing of Australian immigrants? Culture and gender differences. Melbourne: Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research.Google Scholar
  27. Krahn, H., Derwing, T., Mulder, M., & Wilkinson, L. (2000). Educated and underemployed: Refugee integration into the Canadian labour market. Journal of International Migration and Integration, 1(1), 59–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. MacLeod, J. (1995). Ain’t no makin’ it: Aspirations and attainment in a low-income neighbourhood. Boulder: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  29. McKay, S. (Ed.). (2009). Refugees, recent migrants and employment: Challenging barriers and exploring pathways. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  30. Mon, M. (2000). The economic position of women in Burma. Asian Studies Review, 24(2), 243–255.  https://doi.org/10.1080/10357820008713272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Neuman, W. L. (2011). Social research methods: Qualitative and quantitative approaches (7th Edition). Boston: Pearson.Google Scholar
  32. Pavlish, C. (2007). Narrative inquiry into life experiences of refugee women and men. International Nursing Review, 54(1), 28–34.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1466-7657.2007.00510.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Refugee Council of Australia [RCOA]. (2010). Economic, civic and social contributions of refugees and humanitarian entrants: A literature review. Report prepared for the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. Canberra. Retrieved 28 November, 2018 from http://www.refugeecouncil.org.au/docs/resources/Contributions_of_refugees.pdf.
  34. Refugee Council of Australia. (2016). Education and training. Retrieved 28 November, 2018 from http://www.refugeecouncil.org.au/getfacts/settlement/learninghere/education-and-training/.
  35. Richardson, S., Healy, J., Stack, S., Ilsley, D., Lester, L., & Horrocks, J. (2004). The Changing Labour Force Experience of New Migrants. Inter-Wave Comparisons for Cohort 1 and 2 of the LSIA, Report to the DIMIA, Adelaide: The National Institute for Labour Studies, Flinders University. Retrieved 28 November, 2018 from https://www.immi.gov.au/media/publications/pdf/settlementv2.pdf.
  36. Rubin, H. J., & Rubin, I. S. (2004). Qualitative interviewing: The art of hearing data (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  37. Selvamalar, A. (2010). Challenges faced by women refugees in initiating entrepreneurial ventures in a host country: Case study of UNHCR women refugees in Malaysia. Paper presented at the 514-XII. Retrieved 28 November, 2018 from http://www.ajbms.org/articlepdf/ajbms_2011_1346.pdf.
  38. Tlhabano, K. N., & Schweitzer, R. (2007). A qualitative study of the career aspirations of resettled young Sudanese and Somali refugees. Journal of Psychology in Africa, 17(1), 137–145.Google Scholar
  39. United Nations High Commission for Refugees. (2012). About refugees. Retrieved 10 October, 2018 from http://unhcr.org.au/unhcr/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=179&Itemid=54.
  40. Valtonen, K. (2004). From the margin to the mainstream: conceptualizing refugee settlement process. Journal of Refugee Studies, 17(1), 70–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Willott, J., & Stevenson, J. (2013). Attitudes to employment of professionally qualified refugees in the United Kingdom. International Migration, 51(5), 120–132.  https://doi.org/10.1111/imig.12038.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Zhou, M. (1997). Segmented assimilation: issues, controversies and recent research on the new second generation. InternationaI Migration Review, 31, 975–1008.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of QueenslandSt. LuciaAustralia

Personalised recommendations