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
Centre for Work and Learning
95 Brunswick Street
Fitzroy, Victoria 3065
Email: asep(at)

Employers interested in learning more about the program can contact:
Brian Finnigan, phone 0424 751 920 or email bfinnigan(at)

Asylum seekers wanting to learn more about getting involved can contact:
Given the Chance, phone (03) 9288 9904 or by email at asep(at)

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.