Media Release by Senator the Hon Concetta Fierravanti-Wells

Orientation Programme for Humanitarian Entrants

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Social Services, Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells today met with Directors from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Sydney.

The IOM is responsible for the delivery of the Australian Cultural Orientation (AUSCO) programme to humanitarian entrants before their arrival in Australia.

The AUSCO programme was established in 2003 and is provided to entrants over five years of age once visas are granted before their departure for Australia. IOM has delivered the AUSCO course to more than 60,000 humanitarian entrants from Africa, South Asia, South East Asia and the Middle East.

The Australian Government provided $6.5 million over three years to the IOM to continue to deliver the AUSCO programme.

Senator Fierravanti-Wells, who has special responsibility for Multicultural Affairs and Settlement Services, said this important programme aimed to equip humanitarian entrants with an understanding of Australia’s cultural, social and legal requirements.

“This orientation is a critical step to ensure the best possible start to their settlement journey and new life in Australia,” Senator Fierravanti-Wells said.

“The AUSCO programme’s course materials are being reviewed to ensure new arrivals continue to be given the best start to improve their English, get an education and find employment when they get to Australia.”

The review will also look at information on women’s status and their participation in Australian society, family safety and entrants’ expectations of life in Australia.

Senator Fierravanti-Wells acknowledged the strength of the continuing partnership with IOM in delivering successful settlement outcomes to humanitarian entrants.

AUSCO also links closely with the Humanitarian Settlement Services programme that will see our intake increase over the next four years from 13,750 people to 18,750 people.