- 65 per cent of new arrivals engaged in volunteering within the first 18 months of their arrival to Australia.
- People mainly volunteer as a way to contribute to society, make friends, improve their English, and/or gain local work experience.
- There are personal and professional benefits from volunteering.
- Organisations gained many benefits from their volunteers.
- More than two-thirds of organisations surveyed reported that they and their volunteers need more formal support, and would benefit from funding for training programs, supporting material, and from forming new partnerships and sharing resources.
Volunteering and Settlement in Australia
SCoA’s 2019 Federal Election Platform
SCoA Policy Focus – Access to Justice
Barriers and Exclusions: The support needs of newly arrived refugees with a disability – February 2019
SCoA Annual Report 2017-2018
Fundamentals of effective settlement – 2018
Multiculturalism in Australia
SCoA Policy Focus – Loneliness
Humanitarian Settlement Program online survey – 30 August 2018
The future of employment services in Australia: July 2018
SCoA Achievements 2017-2018
SCoA Submission on Newly Arrived Residents Waiting Period: March 2018
The Federal Government has proposed to increase the Newly Arrived Residents Waiting Period (NARWP) for social services payments from two years to three (and, subsequently in the 2018 Budget, to four years).
In March 2018, SCoA made a submission to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee outlining our concerns about the proposed increase.
Our Submission can be accessed below.
SCoA Member Survey: May 2018
Peak Bodies Urge Increased Oversight of Migration Services: 1 May 2018
MEDIA RELEASE1 May 2018
PEAK BODIES URGE INCREASED OVERSIGHT OF MIGRATION SERVICESThe Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA) and the Settlement Council of Australia (SCoA) have joined forces to call for increased Government funding for the oversight of migration services in Australia. In a joint submission to the Australian Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Migration, the two peak bodies acknowledge the critical role played by migration agents in often-complex applications for migration but stress the detrimental impact that unregistered migration agents have on vulnerable individuals applying to visas. The Chairperson of FECCA, Mary Patetsos, said: “FECCA believes that registered migration agents are currently regulated and supported by a strong system and that the majority adhere to sector regulations and guidelines. “However, the robust regulation of migrant agents, combined with a well-resourced effort to reduce the impact of unregistered practice, is in the best interests of CALD and migrant communities and those with family members keen to migrate.” The Settlement Council of Australia (SCoA) said that the role of migration agents should be acknowledged. The Chairperson of SCoA, Dewani Bakkum, said: “Our members witness firsthand the true value of the contribution made to multicultural Australia by those it welcomes as migrants, as well as the challenges those people face when attempting to settle in their new communities. “We believe that stringent regulation and accreditation of migration agents is crucial to ensure strong, safe and prosperous CALD and migrant communities. Confidence in the visa application process must be maintained.” FECCA and SCoA have recommended to the Committee that:
- The current system of regulation of migration agents be maintained, including strong registration and stringent accreditation processes, as well as swiftly enforced penalties for exploitative and unethical migration agents;
- The allocation of resources to further investigate the volumes and patterns of unregistered migration agents and education agents providing unlawful immigration services in Australia;
- A comprehensive effort be made to inform clients of migration agents of their rights as consumers, and a streamlined process for migrants to raise concerns and have them arbitrated as efficiently as possible;
- Consideration be given to additional resourcing to the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (OMARA), including the maintenance of a compensation fund for individuals who are left out of pocket as a result of unethical behaviour.
SCoA Policy Focus – Education
SCoA Submission to 2018-19 Migration Program: Feb 2018
Following a national consultation, SCoA has made a submission to the Department of Home Affairs consultation into planning for the 2018-19 Migration Program.
Highlighting the crucial importance of migration to Australia - both in economic and social terms - SCoA's submission calls on the government to adopt a settlement-focus towards immigration policies that will ensure the success of our Migration Program into the future.
SCoA has also used this opportunity to call for a holistic plan for the Migration Program which takes into account both global trends and Australia's needs into the future. We recommend the government learn from the successful National Settlement Framework and adopt a plan across all levels of government that will ensure our Migration Program remains flexible and dynamic.
Finally, SCoA has urged the government to review opportunities to increase access to the Migration Program for humanitarian migrants, including by investigating options to make skilled and other general visa streams more accessible and, crucially, prioritising family migration opportunities as a matter of urgency.
As a common theme across our submission, SCoA views the role of settlement services as being integral to ensuring that all new arrivals are empowered to achieve independence and become fully contributing members of the community. We see this as being the vital key to striking the best balance in our Migration Program and unlocking its full potential.
You can read SCoA's full submission here.