The Morrison Government today announced a $37.3 million investment in new measures to drive better settlement and integration outcomes for refugees and humanitarian entrants in Australia.
The new settlement measures follow the Review of the Community Support Program conducted by the Commonwealth Coordinator-General for Migrant Services, Alison Larkins (the CSP Review) and focus on creating opportunities for more Australians to directly support successful refugee settlement in Australia.
Drawing on international evidence, the CSP Review found that community support models can improve economic, social and language learning outcomes for refugees, particularly through building social capital.
The new measures include:
A lower cost Community Support Program (CSP): From 1 July 2022, the Government will reduce the Visa Application Charge for the Community Support Program to 40 per cent of the current rate for primary applicants and remove it entirely for secondary applicants.
Introduction of pilot program to trial community-based sponsorship of refugee and humanitarian entrants with no link to Australia: The Government will invest $9.2 million to introduce a new Community Refugee Integration and Settlement Pilot (CRISP), to commence in 2022.
The four year pilot will facilitate community sponsorship of up to 1,500 refugee and humanitarian entrants across Australia, to help refugees resettle with the support of interested community groups, trained volunteers and faith-based groups, who have expressed interest in directly supporting refugees.
The program will draw on elements of the Canadian community sponsorship program and provide an alternative approach to the settlement of refugees, within the Humanitarian program, for those referred to Australia by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) or who do not have identified links to Australia. These refugees will continue to have access to Medicare and income support through the CRISP.
The Government will partner closely with Community Refugee Sponsorship Australia (CRSA) in designing the program, given CRSA’s deep community networks and experience with its successful Group Mentorship Program.
The Pilot is an important first step in demonstrating the ongoing community support for refugee and humanitarian sponsorship, and to demonstrate the sustainability of the program, informing any potential consideration of additional humanitarian places in future program years.
Social Enterprise Grants to support Refugee employment: $24.6 million will be invested in a four year grant program targeted to support social enterprises that create new job opportunities and pathways to employment for refugees.
Further announcements on the grant program will be made in due course.
Improved Refugee and Humanitarian Entrant data tracking and analysis: $3.5 million will be provided over four years to address significant gaps in national outcomes data specific to refugee and humanitarian populations.
Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, Alex Hawke MP said that the changes were designed to address the key findings of the CSP Review, and improve economic, social and language learning outcomes for refugees.
“We know that community-based settlement can be particularly effective at delivering successful settlement outcomes for refugee and humanitarian entrants,” Minister Hawke said.
“In particular, the Australian community has demonstrated great enthusiasm for supporting refugees through private, community-led sponsorship programs,” he said.
“These new measures are designed to build on, and harness this enthusiasm, by supporting even greater engagement from everyday Australians in the settlement of refugees in their communities - providing an outlet for them to directly sponsor and facilitate the successful settlement of refugee and humanitarian entrants via the Community Support Program.
“I look forward to working with the community to ensure these reforms effectively harness that enthusiasm and contribute to enabling a strong Community Sponsorship Program in Australia,” Minister Hawke said.
The CSP was established by the Coalition Government in 2017 and was designed to allow individuals, groups and businesses to sponsor humanitarian entrants with employment prospects to Australia, in order to harness community support for refugees and increase the chances of successful integration and settlement outcomes.