Jesuit Social Services welcomed the opportunity to respond to the Multicultural Framework Review, led by the appointed panel under the Australian Department of Home Affairs.

Jesuit Social Services has been working for more than 45 years delivering support services and advocating for improved policies, legislation and resources to achieve strong, cohesive and vibrant communities where all people flourish. Advancing social cohesion and inclusivity by supporting migrants, refugees and people seeking asylum to become integrated within the Australian community is a priority for Jesuit Social Services.

Australia is a multicultural society with its foundations rooted in its diversity. However, many current policies and systems present barriers for newly arrived migrants, refugees and people seeking asylum being able to fully participate in our society. To support a cohesive and inclusive multicultural Australia that celebrates the contributions that migrants, refugees and people seeking asylum bring to our society, existing policies must change and structural barriers removed. In our submission, we outlined our key concerns and recommendations of what we believe needs to be addressed to achieve this.

Summary of our recommendations:

  • Policy amendments specifically for people seeking asylum, including:
    • Giving those on temporary visas the right to work, study, and have access to Medicare as well as access to a financial safety-net
    • Increasing funding to services within the community to be able to provide more adequate support to those experiencing destitution, financial and food insecurity
    • Reducing extensive wait times for processing protection applications
    • Allow refugees and people seeking asylum to be able to live within the Australian community while waiting for their protection claims to be processed. This includes evacuating those remaining in PNG and ending offshore detention permanently
  • Expanding alternative pathways including skilled refugee visas, community refugee sponsorship programs and CRISP.
  • Expanding eligibility and funding for the SETS program, and enable a holistic, community development approach to supporting new arrivals.
  • Allocating greater resources to ensure accessibility of services that are culturally sensitive and trauma-informed.
  • Addressing systemic barriers to accessing employment for migrants and refugees to facilitate access to training and employment pathways.
  • Providing intensive support and early intervention strategies to address intergenerational impacts of trauma in order to prevent young people entering the justice system.

Download the submission