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Immigration and jobs forum

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Philip Ruddock MR ! ■ .:·!.)! M em b er lor I Hindu-· I Icvtorutv

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,m J f Ihm v Vfuir-· fax: (02) Sl)4 bTIO


Parliament House i vl: (1)0) 277 4743 Fax: (06) 277 2062


Recent reports in some print media have suggested that the Liberal Party was "vague" about the origins of two of the unemployed people represented at the Jobs Forum on Saturday. Such claims are an example of mischevious journalism.

If reporters had bothered to ask questions they would have received an answer. However, that answer may have spoiled a "good story".

M r Mohan Karnam was asked to speak at the forum after he had written a letter to Dr Hewson outlining exactly the same story he reiterated on Saturday. He was not coached prior to the session. All the speakers at the forum were encouraged to "tell it like it is"

From their own perspective. To suggest that Bishop Challen "ruined the careful stage managing" is to devalue the contributions of those people.

If Mr Karnam's story was "convenient" it was only so because it reflects the sentiments of many new migrants to this country at a time of high unemployment.

M r Karnam raised some very important issues, not least of all is the dearth of information on labour market trends, recognition of qualifications and the economy generally available to intending migrants at overseas posts.

The suggestion has been that if this information was provided, the decision to migrate may well have been postponed until economic indicators had improved.

The Coalition has been concerned about this issue for some time and has urged the Government to redress the shortcomings.

In June 1991 the National Advisory Committee for Skills Recognition released a report called "Report on Provision of Vocational Information and Counselling to Prospective Skilled Migrants at Overseas Posts". This report was very critical of the level of

information provided by the Australian Government at overseas posts and read in part, "There is an urgent need to improve the provision "of information available to migrants.."

More than 12 months later, the level of information available at overseas posts is still grossly inadequate. ·



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A promised Pre-Embarkation Kit, "Welcome to Australia" is not yet available and still does not address the information needs of prospective migrants.

- The kit will only be available to approved migrants at the time of visa issue. This is too late. The kit should be available at the point of first inquiry.

- The kit will only be translated into Polish, Russian, Spanish, Chinese and Vietnamese. *

- The most important information on labour market conditions, qualifications recognition and economic indicators is not yet available even in draft form.

In fact, the kit is designed for people who have already made the decision to migrate, it is not designed to assist in the decision-making process.

This failure to adequately inform prospective migrants of the reality of Australian life is to ultimately to fail them and Australia.

Mr Karnam made an impassioned plea to the Australian authorities to provide that information. If it had been available to him, and many others like him, then he may not have quit his professional job in India and risked the future of his young family for an uncertain, and in his own words, an undignified, future in a strange and foreign land.

7 July 1992 . '