Seuwandi Wickramasinghe

How the Given the Chance for Asylum Seekers program acted as a bridge to employment for asylum seekers.

At a glance

The Given the Chance for Asylum Seekers (GtCAS) program was a service offered by BSL to people living in Melbourne and seeking asylum.

It ran from 2013 to 2018 and acted as a bridge between employers and participants, helping them to find ‘stepping stone’ jobs so they could be better prepared for the labour market.

The author explored the employment paths of 19 GtCAS participants and spoke to five employers who were also involved in the program.

Dive deeper

People seeking asylum are caught in a web of uncertainty. Employment provides income and has the potential to provide social connections; yet asylum seekers’ uncertain circumstances make it hard to compete in a rapidly changing labour market.

The Given the Chance for Asylum Seekers program, funded by a private philanthropist, worked intensively with jobseekers and with employers in Melbourne to identify suitable job opportunities and traineeships. The program worked to try to overcome the major obstacles asylum seekers faced relating to their visa conditions and the recruitment process in general.

This final report examines the employment trajectories of GtCAS participants, drawing on 19 interviews with program participants, program data between July 2015 and April 2018 and five interviews with employers.

Last updated on 16 June 2020