First impressions matter: Brotherhood helps asylum seekers into work

‘Before I moved to Australia, I had no idea about interview skills or job-searching skills,’ said Abdullahi, a 27-year-old asylum seeker from Somalia, a country in east Africa.

Abdullahi is part of a Brotherhood of St Laurence jobs program that has helped 230 asylum seekers who have work rights into employment since July 2013.


The success of Given the Chance for Asylum Seekers is built on the partnerships the program has forged with a range of businesses and non-profits.

Wear for Success, a Melbourne non-profit that offers free clothes to disadvantaged job-seekers, works with the Brotherhood to ensure asylum seekers look their best when searching for employment.

‘I got my first job through the Brotherhood of St Laurence and Wear for Success,’ said Abdullahi at a recent fitting at Wear for Success, where interview tips and job-search advice are freely provided alongside the suits and shoes.

Given the Chance for Asylum Seekers has filled a service gap by helping asylum seekers living in the community find paid employment so they can support themselves.

The innovative program currently has around 500 asylum seekers being supported by the Brotherhood to look for and maintain job opportunities. There is waiting list of a further 185 people.

The Brotherhood's approach is deeply practical: the organisation provides mentoring, life and job-readiness skills and English classes and works very closely with employers to fill vacancies in areas where workers are needed.

For more information on Given the Chance for Asylum Seekers phone (03) 9288 9904.

More information on the Brotherhood's work with refugees and asylum seekers is available on our website.

The Brotherhood of St Laurence (BSL) acknowledges and understands its obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and recognises that all children and young people have the right to be treated with respect and care, and to be safe from all forms of abuse. BSL has a zero tolerance towards child abuse.
Read the official statement signed by the Executive Director.

The Brotherhood recognises the harm that family violence causes and that freedom from violence is a basic human right.
We will support our staff, volunteers, clients and the community if they experience violence.

Find out more about the work of the Brotherhood
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The Brotherhood of St Laurence acknowledges and recognises the Traditional Owners of the land upon which we live and work, and we pay our respects to their Elders both past and present.

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