There is a common perception that migrants who come to Australia ‘the right way’ are welcomed and integrated into an inclusive society through high quality settlement programs and, therefore, are not vulnerable. Yet, if we scratch below the surface, there is an extraordinary disconnect between this perception and its accompanying rhetoric, on the one hand, and the living realities of many migrants in Australia, on the other.
This new report, Speaking Up, Speaking Out, Speaking With: Advocacy Challenges for Civil Society’s Work with Migrants in Vulnerable Situations (PDF) by Eve Lester, scopes the capacity of Australian civil society to address problems faced by migrants, refugees and asylum seekers living in our community who ‘face many common challenges and have similar vulnerabilities.’
Based on research conducted between September 2018 and March 2019, it draws on the knowledge, insights and experience of 98 individual informants from more than 45 organisations who work with people living in Australia on temporary visas and who are structurally and/or personally vulnerable. In view of its mid-pandemic publication, it includes a postscript on the impact of COVID-19 on this population.
The study identifies a number of challenges facing the ‘human mobility’ sector in Australia, concluding that there is an urgent need for a multidimensional civil society approach to advocacy, with a view to building a broader civil society movement seeking justice for migrants. As a first step in meeting those challenges, the report makes two recommendations designed to build and strengthen civil society’s capacity to work together in a more coordinated, collaborative and effective way.