The Australian Government is providing $15 million in grant funding to social enterprises that have a demonstrated ability to create economic participation opportunities for refugees.
The new Economic Pathways to Refugee Integration program grant opportunity is now open for applications from social enterprises that can provide activities that support refugee and humanitarian entrants into long-term employment or self-employment.
Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, Alex Hawke said the grant program will help increase the settlement success of refugees and humanitarian visa entrants to Australia, by funding programs that actively address the significant barriers this group often face when trying to participate in the Australian workforce.
“We know that refugee and humanitarian entrants are highly motivated to work and have great entrepreneurial spirit. And importantly, for most migrants, a job is more than just a way of earning income.
“Employment is crucial to supporting refugees to build a life for themselves and their families in Australia. It helps refugees access stable and permanent housing, establish local connections, gain skills, improve their English and build social capital.
“However, in our advanced economy, refugees who have lower skill levels or lower English proficiency are at a significant risk of long-term unemployment.
“This grant opportunity is specifically designed to fund programs that will provide additional and targeted support and on the job training, that will help the participants overcome these common barriers to workforce participation.
“There is no better time than now, when we are facing a national skills shortage, to ensure all those who can and want to work and contribute to our economy, have the supports in place to do so,” Minister Hawke said.
Grants of between $50,000 and $1,000,000 per annum will be available over the three year program. Eligible social enterprises can apply for funding on GrantConnect, the Government’s grant information system at www.grants.gov.au. Applications close on 11 April 2022.
The program is part of the $37.3 million investment in new measures to drive better settlement and integration outcomes for refugees and humanitarian entrants in Australia, announced in December 2021.