A program to help migrants adjust to life on the Sunshine Coast has been awarded a significant federal grant.
Member for Fairfax Ted O’Brien said some migrants had trouble finding work and forming relationships in the community and often felt isolated.
Mr O’Brien announced funds totalling $405,289 for the Nambour Community Centre to help new permanent residents gain employment, learn English and build social networks in their new home.
The Settlement Engagement and Transition Support (SETS) program will be funded from 2019 to 2022 through the Department of Social Services.
Mr O’Brien said the Sunshine Coast region welcomed about 2700 new migrants each year but not everyone found it easy to settle into their new life.
“One of the biggest struggles for people is securing work that matches their skills and qualifications,” Mr O’Brien said.
“Unfortunately we hear stories of people with skills in engineering and other professional careers doing work well below their skill levels.
“They may not have the connections or understanding of how to find appropriate work or sometimes they are the victims of prejudice.
“Obtaining work is important for people to support themselves and their families but it also improves confidence and self worth.
“Being a new migrant can also be an isolating experience and this program encourages new residents to get involved in the community and build relationships.”
Nambour Community Centre migrant settlement worker Linda Dennis said the program aimed to enable social and economic participation of migrants.
“Most of the migrants we work with come from countries like the Philippines, Thailand, China, Vietnam, India, Japan, Russia and we have migrants from Peru, Brazil and other parts of Europe,” said Ms Dennis.
“The main focus of the program is building connections between migrants and the general community so everyone can benefit.”
Ms Dennis urged people who wanted to volunteer their time with migrants – speaking conversational English, having a coffee or other social activities – to get in touch with the Nambour Community Centre on 5441 4660.