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Employment pathways for refugees

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Economic participation has been shown to be critical for refugees and humanitarian entrants to integrate in Australia. Accordingly, the creation of jobs and pathways to employment and self-employment for refugees in local labour markets has been a significant focus of the Department's work.

Economic Pathways ​to Refugee Integration grant program

$21.3 million over three years was committeed in the Economic Pathways to Refugee Integration (EPRI) grant program.

The new EPRI program seeks to increase the rate of employment for refugees and hu​manitarian entrants by creating job opportunities and pathways to employment and self-employment for refugees with low skill levels and low English language proficiency.

EPRI program Grant​​​​s to Social Enterprises

Grants available under EPRI’s Grants to Social Enterprises scheme opened for applications on 28 February 2022.

Applications were sought via an open competitive process from economic participation focused social enterprises who demonstrated the ability to achieve economic participation outcomes for refugees and humanitarian entrants.

The grant opportunity prioritises applications from employment regions identified as having a high number of refugee and humanitarian entrant job seekers.

​Eligible applicants could apply for grants of between $50,000 and $1,000,000 per annum over three years.

The open competitive grant round attracted applications from 111 organisations with 20 organisations shortlisted by a selection advisory panel.

A total of $17.7 million will be allocated between the 20 social enterprises selected in the first round of the EPRI program.

Organisations shortlisted for first round of EPRI
​Name of organisation​
Short description of project

Community Corporate Pty Ltd

The Refugee E3 Project (Engage, Educate and Employ) fills a critical gap in supporting refugees with lower skill levels and low English language proficiency to increase economic participation pathways, integrated into Community Corporate’s social enterprise employment model.

Whittlesea Community Connections Inc

The Refugee Economic Pathways Program is an employment skills program that provides participants with employment pathway planning, foundational skills training, job-specific skills and English as an additional language training, supported work experiences and on-the job training, paid internships, and other wraparound support.

Parliament on King Pty Ltd

The First Shift Ready program will remove barriers to employment for newly-arrived female refugees with low levels of English proficiency. The project will provide each participant with 26 weeks of employment and vocational training in hospitality, food safety and customer service from a social catering cafe and kitchen in Sydney, equipping them to successfully transition into secure employment in the local hospitality sector.

Hotel Housekeeping Ltd

Hotel Housekeeping creates sustainable employment opportunities within the hospitality sector for overlooked and underserved Australians via its labour hire and community inclusion services, which includes the model to transition and support employees into direct (in-house) employment. Their wraparound support continues for a further 6 months post transition, to help ensure employment is sustained.

Thrive Refugee Enterprise Ltd

Thrive will assist refugees and other humanitarian migrants to become economically independent by facilitating their pathway to small business ownership/self-employment. Thrive will also provide financing which has been identified by various research reports as a barrier in the pathway to small businesses.


The Refugee Fast-Track to Work program is tailored and wraparound, including case management, work-readiness training, work experience across their 12 enterprises (cafes, bakery, catering, farms, gardens), and transition into a real job.

Multicultural Youth South Australia Inc (MYSA)

MYSA’s project represents an early intervention approach designed for the long-term unemployed, or those at risk of long-term unemployment, to reduce the likelihood of youth falling into a pattern of welfare dependency into adulthood. MYSA will expand their social enterprise Miss MYSA Events (MME) to directly support refugee young people aged 18-35 into guaranteed employment.

Plateitforward Ltd

Plateitforward’s project Creating Employment and Training in Hospitality for Refugees and Asylum Seekers, will address the economic participation needs of refugees and asylum seekers from South Western Sydney with low English skills and no hospitality experience. It will continue Plateitforward's reinvention of equal opportunity for Sydney's disadvantaged communities.

Paws Fulfilment Pty Ltd

Participants in The Together Powering Refugees and Humanitarian Entrants into Employment project will be matched with a coach mentor and work supervisor who will journey with them until 6 months of employment is achieved.

St Vincent de Paul Society NSW

St Vincent de Paul’s project will address the economic participation support needs by providing a combination of nine interventions or targeted approaches that will facilitate the transition into the labour market of refugees and humanitarian entrants living in South West Sydney.

Green Collect Ltd

Green Collect (GC) and The Dragonfly Collective (DFC) will deliver an integrated project combining direct job creation with a tailored business incubator program.

Dismantle Inc

Dismantle Inc will train, employ and transition young refugee jobseekers aged 16-26 in Perth North and South employment regions. Each participant will complete an average 1200 hours of award wage work at Dismantle's social enterprise ReNew Property Maintenance.

Nundah Community Enterprises Cooperative (NCEC) Ltd

NCEC’s Pathways to Employment project will leverage NCEC’s existing suite of businesses and experienced staff, to create a multilayered range of opportunities for people with lower skill and/or lower English language proficiency to access employment opportunities.

Community Resources Ltd

The Green Connect project will train, support and employ refugees in Sydney South West, Sydney Greater West and the Illawarra in jobs that help the community and the environment - growing food and reducing waste.

Brotherhood of St Laurence

The Given the Chance Speak Up program will provide specialist support for refugee jobseekers from the defined cohort to succeed in employment opportunities with key partners. These roles will include traineeships, apprenticeships and entry-level administration roles with key employer partners.

The Social Outfit Inc

The project Kick-Start Your Career in Retail, Traineeship and Work Readiness Programfor Young Refugee Women will create employment and training pathways for refugee women to transition to ongoing external employment with their industry partners.

The Bread and Butter Project

The Bread and Butter Project trains refugees to be qualified artisan bakers so they have sustainable careers in Australia's baking and hospitality industry. They focus on refugees who have completed secondary school or lower and/or have less than vocational level English skills to improve their settlement outcomes.

CERES Fair Wood Inc

Ceres Fair Wood creates jobs in the timber and construction industry, creating jobs for apprentice carpenters, cabinetmakers, machinery operators, labourers and drivers. Jobs and training will set participants up to either advance within this social enterprise or to secure outside employment or self-employment.

The Social Studio Inc

The Social Studio’s Designing Our Futures is dedicated to creating pathways to long-term and fulfilling employment for marginalised refugee youth who face barriers to economic participation. Since their foundation in 2009, they have supported over 820 refugee participants with their work-focussed programs.

Space2b Social Design Inc

The Space2b Experience empowers, supports, and trains refugees and humanitarian entrants for job-readiness via on-the-job training and by providing business mentoring and enterprise development for those with creative skills to secure pathways to self-employment.

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​Guides for empl​​​oyers and social enterprises

The Department has published two guides to promote more economic participation opportunities for refugees and humanitarian entrants: