Australia to Trial English Classes for Refugees in Overseas Camps

February 7, 2020Australia
Australia to Trial English Classes for Refugees in Overseas Camps
Migrants and refugees, who say that they seek to travel onward to northern Europe sleep outside a camp in the town of Diavata, Greece, April 5, 2019. (Alexandros Avramidis/Reuters)

CANBERRA, Australia—The federal government plans to set up English classes in overseas U.N. refugee camps to give potential immigrants a better shot at getting a job when they get to Australia.

Acting Immigration Minister and Minister for Population Alan Tudge has decried a link between unacceptably high rates of unemployment amongst refugees in Australia and a lack of English skills.

“Long-term ­welfare dependence is debilitating for anyone, be they a refugee, long-term citizen or anyone else. We have to do better,” Mr. Tudge will say in a speech at the Menzies Research Centre in Melbourne, The Australian reported on Friday.

“Data shows that when identifying reasons for finding it difficult to get a job, close to 60 percent of humanitarian entrants said ‘my English isn’t good enough yet.'”

A trial of English-language classes in overseas camps to upskill refugees before they arrive in Australia is due to begin on July 1.

More than 70 percent of refugees are unemployed a year after arriving in Australia, the government says.

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