A simple equation is sometimes presented, that regional areas need population and workers and that refugees need jobs and therefore the refugees should go to regional areas. Our research suggests the equation is not necessarily simple.
Both the Australian Government and the Victorian State Government have been developing policies to encourage migrants and refugees to settle in regional areas, to assist the newcomers to gain employment and to help build regional economies. This involves both relocation from metropolitan areas and direct settlement from overseas. However, the settlement needs of refugees cannot be assumed to be the same as those of other migrants.
The Brotherhood of St Laurence has undertaken a study to explore the settlement experiences of two recent refugee groups (Iraqi and Sudanese) in selected areas of regional Victoria (Shepparton, Colac and Warrnambool) and to examine factors that promote successful settlement in such areas. Interviews and consultations were undertaken in mid 2004 with some 55 Iraqi and Sudanese refugees and 22 community leaders and service providers.
A full copy of this report can be accessed on the Brotherhood of St Laurence website.
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