The Joint Standing Committee on Migration has released ‘No one teaches you to become an Australian’, the report of the inquiry into migrant settlement outcomes.
Drawing on submissions, public hearings, as well as an international exploratory trip, the report makes a range of positive recommendations to improve settlement services and supports.
This includes recognition of the need to expand the Community Hubs program, provide greater flexibility within AMEP, an employment support service specifically designed for newly arrived and longer term migrants within Jobactive, and for more robust reporting on settlement outcomes.
CMY is particularly pleased to note that the needs of young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds were taken into consideration in the report. Regretfully, little to no attention was given to their particular health and wellbeing needs.
Specific recommendations concerning young people included the expansion of the Youth Transitions Support pilot (which is currently piloting targeted programs to support young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds to make the transition into employment), improvement of refugee and migrant youth engagement in sport and recreation activities, and funding for youth mentoring programs.
It was disappointing that youth justice, and the persistent focus on small groups of young offenders, were given prominence. It was, however, encouraging to see some positive recommendations ensue from this exploration, including a justice reinvestment approach across Australia, improved data collection and better advice to visa holders who have committed an offence.
Despite many positive recommendations, CMY is concerned about the tone and intent of two of the recommendations made in the report.
The first is the mandatory cancellation of visas of young people aged between 16 and 18 years who are convicted of certain offences. The second is the removal of the current requirement for convictions to carry a 12 month sentence before visas can be cancelled for certain offences.
CMY made it very clear in our submission to the Committee that we do not support the use of Australia’s migration processes to address anti-social behaviour, noting “we strongly believe that current checks and balances already serve to ensure our national security and other interests”.