Australian parishes help migrants struggling to find work amid lockdowns

Posted Jan 10, 2022

[Diocese of Sydney, Anglican Church of Australia] According to Sara (a pseudonym), her family’s journey to Australia was a “miracle from God.” Traveling from Iran to Indonesia, and then embarking on a boat with her husband and 2-year-old son, they thought they would drown in the oceans surrounding Australia.

“We sank in the water for half an hour, and then the Australian Navy rescued us and we got to Christmas Island,” Sara said. They stayed there for 11 months before settling in Sydney. “It was so difficult. We had no English. Everything was new. We were missing family.”

A visit from a Christian connected her family with Lakemba Anglican Church in the Sydney suburb of Lakemba, New South Wales. Years later, this connection helped Sara as she struggled to find work for the first time in her life. “It was so hard,” she says. “I didn’t know how to look for a job or what to say, or which website I needed to go to. Everything was hard. [In Iran] we just go around to the places and ask them if they need a worker. There is much more paperwork in Australia. I was scared of the paperwork.”

Sara’s struggles finding employment and navigating the job search process are not unique. Many migrant families struggle with the cultural expectations and differences of the Australian job market.

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