Looking for a "missing link": Formal employment services and social networks in refugees' job search

Torezani, V, Colic-Peisker, V and Tilbury, F 2008, 'Looking for a "missing link": Formal employment services and social networks in refugees' job search', Journal of Intercultural Studies, vol. 29, no. 2, pp. 135-152.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Looking for a "missing link": Formal employment services and social networks in refugees' job search
Author(s) Torezani, V
Colic-Peisker, V
Tilbury, F
Year 2008
Journal name Journal of Intercultural Studies
Volume number 29
Issue number 2
Start page 135
End page 152
Total pages 18
Publisher Routledge
Abstract Finding employment and developing social networks that can facilitate this task can be major challenges for migrants from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds in Australia and comparable countries, and even more so for refugees who represent a potentially more disadvantaged section of the immigrant intake. This paper explores refugees' perception and use of the Job Network (JN), a group of employment service providers contracted by the Australian government. Using data from a survey of 150 skilled refugee settlers from former Yugoslav, African and Middle Eastern backgrounds in Perth, Western Australia, as well as data collected through interviews with employment service providers and other key informants, we report a mismatch between service providers' and refugees' perceptions and expectations of the employment services. Refugees perceived the JN services and especially JN-provided job training as an opportunity to develop social networks rather than to learn specific job search-relevant skills. On the basis of this finding, and within the social capital framework, we apply the concept of "linking social capital" - the capacity of individuals to leverage resources, ideas and information from institutions beyond their immediate communities - to the labour market integration of refugees in Australia. We conclude that despite the failure of the JN to provide the services refugees need, their activities may be useful for developing linking social capital.
Subject Migrant Cultural Studies
Keyword(s) Australia
employment assistance
labour market integration
refugees
DOI - identifier 10.1080/07256860801938617
ISSN 0725-6868
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