Why Migrants are asked for Local Experience in Australia…

Author of Land That Job in Australia, Jim Bright was recently asked why migrants are rejected for lack of local experience in Australia in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Migrants rejected for lacking “local experience” can fight back, writes Jim Bright.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about Lee and his barriers to employment created by his difficulties with English. This has provoked a veritable avalanche of correspondence from people in a similar situation.

For instance Tariq, an overseas-qualified doctor with two decades of experience who has consistently failed the English-language tests for doctors. He has successfully completed certificates 3 and 4 in allied medical and support areas, yet still he gets nowhere with job applications.

My first response to Tariq is that as somebody clever enough and disciplined enough to be able to train and work as a doctor, he should really be encouraged to persevere with his English-language work, perhaps seeking a skilled language coach to work with him.

On paper, he has a lot to offer his community and he still has half his working life left, so I’d be redoubling the effort and thinking carefully about what learning support would work best for me.

Another correspondent, who wishes to remain anonymous, has been told he possesses excellent English; indeed, he possesses a master’s qualification from a reputable British university. In his case it is not English that is the barrier but he has been told he “does not have any local experience”.

This “local experience” issue is one that cuts no mustard with Ailis Logan, who runs a Melbourne-based firm, Tribus Lingua, specialising in assisting skilled migrants. She says “even Bill Gates would get rejected for lack of local experience”.

The thing is, would Bill Gates get rejected? Of course he would not, so what is really going on? What does it mean when someone says “lacking local experience”? Or, more pertinently, what kind of candidate would lack “local experience”?

The answer is, of course, new migrants. In other words, when a recruiter or employer gives a lack of local experience as a reason for rejecting you, they are really saying you are being rejected because you are a foreigner.

It is not hard to see why my correspondent asks the question: “Is there a protectionism policy being practised especially for new migrants?”

So here are two migrants with full residency status in our country who are struggling to find work despite their very impressive qualifications.

I might add that the CV the second correspondent sent to me was the best in terms of presentation, accuracy and presenting a convincing case of all reader CVs sent to me this year.

Not all employers and recruiters practise such blatant discrimination. There is an abundance of fair-minded employers out there who would love to have either of my correspondents on their team.

There is more cause for optimism in that there are specialist services that are dedicated to supporting and assisting people in this situation.

If the barrier is language, with a lot of persistence, a lot of immersion in the local language and appropriate support, significant improvements can be made for motivated people.

It appears there are many in the same situation, which is sad. Ironically the good news is that there are people and services out there to assist with job hunting for skilled migrants.

Do not give up, seek out support and, in time, you will find roles that are appropriate to your experience.

Article courtesy of the Sydney Morning Herald

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