11 May 2010

Help for migrants in Canberra?

| UrbanAdventure.org
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I was not feeling all that happy for myself today having experienced about 6 weeks of unemployment now. I thought that things were not all that great. But just when things seemed at rock bottom, along came a situation that helped put it all in perspective.

I have a friend from New Zealand who has not yet been here for 2 years, so is not eligible for any Centerlink payments. He has asked and checked several times. A couple of weeks ago he lost his job. Having no real savings he is frantically looking for work. He is quite literally applying for anything he can. So there’s no lack of effort there.

However he has now been asked to move out of the place he has been living in. So he’s got no job, no income, no place to live. My own place is tiny, no room for some one else to sleep. With little income myself I’m only able to give very limited support, mostly in the form of sharing food and driving him to jobs.

So does anyone know of emergency accommodation that does not require money? Or resources for migrants? I have looked online but notice that the Migrant Resource Centre of Canberra seems to no longer have a web site.

Any other resources for crisis accommodation for migrants in Canberra? Anyone want to take in an friendly New Zealander? And please folks, no “go back to NZ” comments, this person needs help, not angst.

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Kennards Hire at Fyshwick had a sign on their counter yesterday for part time and full time staff required.

WonderfulWorld10:00 pm 11 May 10

It can be difficult but I wonder how fussy people are. I’ve never had a problem holding employment in Canberra and have moved from private industry, through many mundane jobs, retail, pizza delivery and now public service. Mostly obtained through targeting stores with a “I want this opportunity” attitude, also word of mouth and eventually through contract with the public service and then public service advertisements. I owned my own business for a couple of years. I had to say no to a number of people walking through looking for jobs but there was reasons for saying no – ie, lack of appropriate visa, appearance and communication skills, they didn’t like the pay rates, having enough employees at the time. Lots of people were given the opportunity, I didn’t get burned by many, but that one time did make me very fussy as an employer.
Anyway, good luck to your friend, it can be a ‘pound the pavement’ at times.
Oh and unfortunately the only “emergency” accommodation for free I’m aware of is the hospital or drug rehab (if they are not full).


Brilliant team in Canberra. Had me in a job within a week of seeing them.

grunge_hippy8:42 pm 11 May 10

joannac said :

When I was walking around DFO a month ago every second shop was looking for someone

same with brand depot… god knows why, no one goes there. some shops were even closed because they didn’t have staff to fill it.


While not their core business they could probably point you in the right direction as they deal with many other agencies and would be aware of what services are available, and likely the best approach to deal with them (waiting lists etc)

And this mob are right downstairs…

But having been in a similar-ish situation, concentrating on getting work (even stuff you wouldn’t normally consider) is the key. Up early, trawl the jobs ads and ring the agency/advertiser the minute they open and he’ll be laughing. Waiting for most institutions to do actually something for you is an exercise in grief.

Another agency that is worthy of stand up applause is canberra connect. Those guys (and ladies) absolutely rock. http://www.canberraconnect.com.au/

barking toad5:30 pm 11 May 10

He could go home to NZ and not milk our Social Security benefits.

Or move in with cousins at the alternative NZ, Manly.

Either employers are getting fussy or they arent looking hard enough. There are plenty of jobs out there.


*Print out 100+ resumes and go to all of the shopping centres. 50% of the shops have help wanted signs. Between Woden, Civic, DFO, Brand Depot, Belconnen and Tuggers your bound to find a job.

*Try all the major supermarkets.

*Email every recruitment agency in town.

*Apply for every temp register with Government departments.

*Apply for every job you have skills for on seek, alljobs, canberratimes etc.
There is over 100 new jobs listed today on seek, if they are desperate – they should have already applyed for 30%+ of them.

I’ve spent plenty of time unemployed due to a back injury. But it never stopped me from applying for roughly 50-100 jobs a month which catered to my injuries.

When I was walking around DFO a month ago every second shop was looking for someone

This is a kind of “go back to NZ comment” but wait, it’s a different “go back to NZ comment”. It may be better for your friend if he does go back. Where is his family? His friends? You are a great friend, trying to help, but maybe going home would be the best option for now. Go home, get some support, save up a little cash, apply for an Aussie job and come back when he’s able. I guess it depends on his relationships here and across the sea. Which location would support him better at this point in time? Good luck. Let us know how it all goes.

UrbanAdventure.org11:10 am 11 May 10

Thanks to those with helpful suggestions.
Also, I should point out that my friend is cold canvassing for jobs. He’s been out with his CV knocking on doors and selling his experience and work. No doubt there is work out there, and he’s not fussy about what work he does. By all means Conan, if you spot any places with a help wanted sign, post them here and we’ll head out to pay them a visit. He has retail experience.

Villawood detention centre provides crisis accommodation for migrants.

On the way home.

ConanOfCooma10:16 am 11 May 10

I call BS on the no work available.

You’re just not trying hard enough, or only looking for a particular kind of work.

Every second shop in Woden has a “HELP WANTED” sign, and don’t even get me started on Fyshwick. Provided you don’t mind being paid in cash, there are plenty of jobs out that way.

There is plenty of work around, you just won’t find it online or in a newspaper, so stop hiding behind them.

Job agencies like “Effective People” need more people on their books maybe you can approach them for work. I know my workplace is having issues getting contractors and temps through them at the moment.

The Migrant Resource Centre is still operating; I had contact with them recently, but I don’t have any details. Best to contact the Citizens Advice Bureau. Most services for migrants are focused on services for culturally and linguistically diverse migrants, and may not be entirely suitable for a New Zealander who just needs practical support, rather than support with fitting into a new culture.

Another idea: has your friend spoken to Centrelink about study options? If he’s having trouble finding work in Canberra, it may be as simple as upskilling to get a job. It may be possible to find financial support if he is enrolled in a VET or HE course. I don’t know about the rules of Austudy, but I suspect there are some reciprocal arrangements for New Zealanders.

Get in touch with Migrant and Refugee Settlement Services in Civic. If they can’t help themselves, they will hopefully be able to point you in the direction of someone that can.


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