Given the Chance for Asylum Seekers

Our innovative program works with employers to create employment pathways for asylum seekers with work rights.

Given the Chance works with marginalised jobseekers

In Australia, there is a huge demand among asylum seeker communities for assistance to find employment. Asylum seekers are highly motivated, but generally have no access to mainstream employment services and struggle to access the labour market and navigate local workplace culture.

It can be up to four years before they gain refugee status and they live a precarious existence with their status and work rights subject to sudden changes. Without support, asylum seekers are at high risk of becoming disengaged and joining the ranks of the long term unemployed by the time they finally attain refugee status. 

With funding from a private philanthropist, the Brotherhood of St Laurence has been delivering the Given the Chance for Asylum Seekers program in Melbourne since 2013. This program utilises an innovative recruitment model, working intensively with employers and jobseekers.

It has a strong advocacy component and has been funded, in part, to change the conversation in our community of what asylum seekers can contribute to Australia if they are given a chance.


Jobseekers receive one-to-one assistance to create an employment pathway with a focus on developing new skills and renewing confidence. It is an early intervention, intensive support model that offers learning for other employment programs working with culturally and linguistically diverse people, and those at risk of disengaging.

  • Demand driven – vacancies are first identified and appropriate candidates then recruited.
  • Employment brokerage – our staff advocate to employers on behalf of asylum seekers.
  • Employment mentoring – one-to-one, individualised employment coaching.
  • Flexible service – responsive to changing industry needs and individual needs of clients.
  • Volunteer program – utilises volunteers to increase the capacity of the program to provide employment mentoring and English language support.
  • Option of labour hire services for employers wanting flexible work arrangements.
  • Direct access to a further range of services and supports of the Brotherhood of St Laurence.

Who is eligible

Asylum seekers with work rights.


Contact us

Given The Chance for Asylum Seekers
Email: asep(at)

Asylum seekers wanting to learn more about getting involved can email asep(at), or visit us at these locations:

Dandenong Site
Address: Dandenong Life Without Barriers Hub, 2nd Floor, 1-7 Langhorne Street, Dandenong, 3175
Contact: Ahmad Raza, Manager
Email: ARaza(at)
Phone: 0400 107 914
Office Phone: (03) 8752 8552

Whittlesea Site
Address: Epping Community Hub, 713 High Street, Epping, 3076
Contact: Angus Blackburn, Manager
Email: ablackburn(at)
Phone: 0428 028 226
Office Phone: 1300 015 107

Flemington Site 
Address: 25 Mt Alexander Road, Flemington 3031 
Contact: Gabrielle Hughes, Manager 
Phone: 0419 950 679
JVEN West Office Email: JVENWest(at)
Office Phone: (03) 8080 1076

Employers interested in learning more about the program can contact: 
Brian Finnigan 
Email: bfinnigan(at)
Phone: 0424 751 920

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.

Find out more about the work of the Brotherhood
Brotherhood Books
Brotherhood of St Laurence Communtiy Stores
Hippy Australia
Given the Chance

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.