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International Graduate Centre of Education

Labouring to resettle: Exploring 'resettlement-work' and 'resettlement-learning' of forced migrants in Sydney

  • Research commons

Abstract: When considering the magnitude of forced migration on a global scale, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) shows that as of 2013 there were 51.2 million people forcibly displaced worldwide. This represents the highest level of people forcibly displaced since the aftermath of World War II. Bearing in mind the contemporary migratory context characterised by mounting worldwide incidents of migration and displacement due to wars, persecution, violence, human rights violations, environmental catastrophes, and economic upheavals, perhaps now more than ever there is a greater need to promote successful resettlement among forced migrants. An important way of supporting migrants in a new society lies in building knowledge about the everyday ways working and learning occurs in and though the process of resettlement.

This paper focuses on the work and learning experiences of resettling migrants in Sydney, Australia identifying themselves as either forced migrants or migrants with substantial push factors underlying their migration journeys. In their own words migrants describe their everyday resettlement activities taking up their time and effort as they work to rebuild their lives in Australia. It is argued that the migrants’ everyday resettlement activities constitute unique and often unrecognised forms of work and learning. Furthermore, this paper will establish that the work and learning actualities of resettling migrants, particularly forced migrants, must be acknowledged and supported in order to promote successful resettlement among migrants and social cohesion in increasingly multicultural settler societies such as Australia.

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