Australia to Trial English Classes for Refugees in Overseas Camps


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.