It is not unusual for migrants anywhere in the world to seek the comfort of familiarity when they first arrive in a new country. For many, this means being in the company of or seeking assistance from those of the same culture, religion or language group and helps them transition and integrate into their new home.
Australia is a global village made up of people born or descended from almost every country in the world. As a result, there are a vast number of cultural associations, community groups and organisations that exist to provide assistance and services to new migrants and refugees.
Cultural associations and organisations
Almost all ethnic communities in Australia are represented by a community organisation that was more often than not, set up by the first migrants from that group. A cultural association or community group exists to cater for members of a particular community or cultural group. For example, one of the largest cultural associations in Australia is the Vietnamese Community in Australia (VCA), which has a chapter in almost every state and territory in Australia. Depending on the organisation, their work may include welfare and outreach services, organising cultural events, youth programs, capacity building initiatives and building cultural awareness within and outside of their communities.
English colleges and schools
If you hold a permanent resident visa or an eligible temporary visa, you may be entitled to 510 hours of English language classes under the Adult Migrant Education Program (AMEP). The aim of the program is to help new migrants and refugees to learn the fundamentals of English, so that they are able to settle into life in Australia. It also helps enable them to contribute socially and economically to Australian society. If you are eligible, you will need to register for AMEP within 6 months of arriving in Australia (12 months if you are under the age of 18 years), commence your English classes within 12 months and complete the program within 5 years. AMEP is delivered by various providers across Australia depending on your location. They include TAFE, Navitas English, Learning For Employment, SMYL and STEPS.
Migrant Resource Centres
Across Australia, Migrant Resource Centres have been set up to provide a range of community services to migrants and refugees including settlement, family support, early intervention, emergency relief, tenancy services, financial counselling, translation and interpreting services, referral services and employment support. Unlike cultural associations which cater for a specific community, Migrant Resource Centres provide services for various cultural and linguistic groups within a defined geographical area.
In the state of New South Wales (NSW), Settlement Services International (SSI) work to support refugees, asylum seekers and people from diverse cultural and language backgrounds. Their objective is to empower and enable people to reach their full potential in Australia. Some of the services they provide include foster care, employment services, settlement support, disability and youth services. Similar organisations exist in other states and territories including Spectrum in Victoria, the Australian Migrant Resource Centre (AMRC) in South Australia, Access Community Services in Queensland and the Multicultural Resources Centre of Western Australia.
Some of the most accessible services and resources for new arrivals to Australia can be found at local community libraries. Many libraries in Australia, especially those in capital cities have a substantial collection of books, learning material, newspapers and resources in different languages and are available for people of different cultural and language backgrounds to borrow and utilise. Some community libraries also hold free English language classes, basic computer lessons, reading and storytelling classes for children as well as justice of the peace services.
Another way for migrants and refugees to access news and information in their own language is through various media outlets and organisations in Australia. SBS is the most well-known media organisation catering for Australia’s multicultural communities. They broadcast news and information in 68 languages across their television, radio and online programs. There are also other radio stations across various locations in Australia that broadcast programs in languages other than English. In addition to this, there are over a dozen foreign language newspapers published in Australia.
If you’re thinking of moving to Australia, contact us at Titan Migration to arrange a consultation on 0404 010 815 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.