Transforming the lives of migrants and refugees through employment and growing regional Australia
Regional Opportunities Australia (ROA) is a not-for-profit organisation that helps migrants and refugees move from cities to welcoming regional communities and connects them to employment and business opportunities.
ROA’s role is to identify regional areas that have employment and business opportunities. It also identifies migrants and refugees who are excited to take up those opportunities and assists them in getting job and business ready, moving to, and calling regional Australia home.
ROA culturally prepares both migrants and refugees, and regional communities to ensure that the transition to life in regional Australia is smooth and sustainable.
We want to play a role in advancing the regional Australian economy and society by connecting hardworking migrants and refugees to regional areas that offer cheaper housing, lower cost of living and a stronger sense of belonging.
ROA’s mission is to play a critical role in advancing the regional Australian economy and society by connecting hardworking migrants and refugees to regional areas that offer cheaper housing, lower cost of living and a stronger sense of belonging.
According to Australian Bureau of Statistics data 2018, almost 86 per cent of migrants settle in greater capital cities, but only 14 per cent move outside those areas. By connecting migrants and refugees currently living in cities with employment opportunities in less densely populated regional areas, ROA is contributing to the sustainability of cities by easing the economic and infrastructure pressure on big cities and enhancing the economic sustainability of regional areas which are struggling to maintain populations.
We are currently supporting 562 applicants to relocate to regional Australia. To date, 40 applicants have been successfully placed into regional jobs in NSW and VIC (more than 140 people including spouses and children). We want to increase the number of people we can support into jobs in regional Australia, and expand to regional Queensland and South Australia, where this is great demand for our work.
From research and our work we know, when migrants and refugees become economically active by getting involved in the workforce or starting their own businesses, it leads to financial independence and faster social integration, improved physical and mental health and improved language skills.
Local employers, including large employers such as JBS Australia which is Australia's biggest meat production company, and SMEs, are looking for employees but frequently struggle to find locals to fill vacancies. When we help migrants/refugees move to these regional areas, not only are they skilled, but most of them have young families, which means they support the local economy to grow by renewing the local population, working locally, buying locally and renting locally.
Also, as international borders remain closed as a result of which backpackers and workers from Pacific nations do not arrive, there is an increasing need for domestic workforce. ROA is getting migrants and refugees who are already living in Australia but unemployed connected with such opportunities. This in itself is promoting the idea of domestic jobs for domestic workers.
A Dreams for a Better World grant will help transition 30 refugees and migrants into regional jobs. With this funding, ROA will provide bespoke and end-to-end assistance to 30 migrant and refugee clients including resume preparation, interview skills, guidance on qualification recognition, workplace culture training, identification of jobs in regional areas, assistance with placing them into those jobs, help with relocation, finding rental housing, connection with regional mentors and services in regional areas.