Refugees Employ a new beginning

September 4, 2011

It’s five am; the alarm sounds, echoing across the house, and a rose-pink dawn begins to break as Sattar Al Nary prepares for another day of a life he has worked so hard to build. He straps on his work boots, tightly grips his eski, revs up his tipper truck and says, “This is my life and I love it,” as he makes his way to the construction site. On the surface, Mr Al Nary appears to be just like any other middle-classed Australian truck driver, working hard to provide for his family, little would you know that he is in fact a former refugee.

While Prime Minister, Julia Gillard’s Malaysian plan continues to linger after the high court rejecting it, the plan could see 800 refugees shipped off to Malaysia in return for 4000 genuine asylum seekers, meanwhile, the misrepresentation of refugees living in Australia worsens. The Department of Immigration and Citizenship released a report showing that 4,523 legitimate refugees were granted Australian Visas in 2010. Australia receives a relatively small number of applications compared to other nations hosting refugees; however, there is considerably less media hype regarding the supposed safety concerns of refugees for other countries including USA and Britain. The Refugee Council of Australia stated that in 2010 Australia received a mere 8, 250 asylum applications, compared to that of the U.S which was inundated with a staggering 55,530 asylum seeker hopefuls in the same year.

Despite negative media reports suggesting that refugees have the potential to bring danger to Australian borders, research conducted by the Refugee Council of Australia reveals that refugees in fact make important contributions to the Australian economy as well as our civil, cultural and social life. Australian refugees present new skills, new markets and fill employment niche markets. Mr Al Nary, who is now the owner of an excavation business, says, “So many of us want to give back to this beautiful country that helped save our lives.”

The Refugee Council study further reveals that the lack of young talent in rural areas of Australia has opened up a window of employment opportunities for refugees who are originally from the countryside.  These asylum seekers are able to move to less populated cities and implement their skills and knowledge to regional Australia. However, the opportunity that could see rural Australia capitalise might be missed if Gillard’s plan goes ahead. Sattar Al Nary says: “At the start we need a little help from the community and the government… we just need a chance.”

It is this chance that is increasingly becoming difficult to gain from the Australian public. Hameed Yussuff, who came to Australia as a refugee in 1997 and works in the cleaning industry, says, “A lot of refugees do the hard jobs that most Australians don’t do…we are hard workers and just want to live the Australian dream”. Unfortunately for refugees like Hameed, the quest for the Australian dream is becoming harder to reach as they continue to be disfranchised from Australian society.

By: Widyan A Ubudy

~ by widyanalubudy on June 8, 2012.

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