Supporting people from multicultural backgrounds
Supporting people from multicultural backgrounds
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Multicultural Service Programs (MSP) is a set of individual programs that have the common purpose of supporting people from multicultural backgrounds. These programs are federally funded either through the Department of Social Services (DSS) or the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP).
The MSP team comprises approximately 20 permanent staff, a similar number of casual Bicultural Workers, and around 100 volunteers. Our permanent staff provide a broad range of case management services including accommodation support, referrals, facilitating access to services, workshops, and group activities.
Our Bicultural Workers provide interpreting support to the team, they ensure we can respond to our clients in culturally appropriate ways, and they provide a link between new arrivals to our programs and existing multicultural communities. Our Volunteers add a wide range of invaluable extra support that increases the scope of our programs beyond case management by providing social and practical support.
The MSP environment is often a hectic one as the demands of complex case management interact with the challenges of cultural diversity. There are many difficult times but there are also plenty of highlights - like airport scenes where dazed and apprehensive new arrivals are welcomed by enthusiastic local community members, or feeling honoured by the trust and genuine connections established with people whose story is hard to tell (and often hard to hear). The office is frequently full of people speaking multiple languages, there is normally food involved in some part of the day, but no two days ever look the same.
Through our various programs we work together with individuals and families as they navigate along their many different multicultural journeys. We also work closely with Tasmania’s emerging cultural communities to support a wide range of activities and events that help to celebrate the vibrancy and achievements of our increasingly multicultural society.
HSS works with people who arrive from overseas having been granted a Humanitarian Visa (of which there are several types) as part of Australia’s Humanitarian Program. They come from a wide range of refugee backgrounds and have normally lived for years in refugee camps or in urban refugee situations. They are referred to us by DSS and arrive with permanent Australian residency – including a pathway to future citizenship. While this opportunity offers people a potentially brighter future, it comes on the back of some incredibly difficult personal journeys - most of our clients have left loved ones behind in situations that are precarious at best, many have had prolonged exposure to extreme violence, and some are the survivors of torture.
The purpose of HSS is to equip these new Humanitarian Entrants with the skills and knowledge they need to commence a new life in Australia. It is an intensive casework model that starts with an airport arrival and normally lasts for between six and twelve months.
> HSS clients are from refugee backgrounds but they are no longer refugees - they are Australian residents who come here as Humanitarian Entrants.
Our Settlement Services program is the next step in the settlement support process after people exit HSS, but program support is also available for some people who arrived as migrants.
The program offers strength based settlement related services to eligible clients for up to five years from their arrival in Australia. Instead of the intensive wrap around casework support offered by HSS, Settlement Services provides more targeted services which build on people’s initial settlement skills and experience. These services include:
> Settlement Services clients are from refugee or migrant backgrounds and are Australian residents or Australian citizens.
CCS provides intensive support to individuals and families from a refugee or migrant background who are experiencing barriers and challenges beyond the scope of settlement programs and general community support agencies.
CCS provides an opportunity to work with people in a highly supportive and individually tailored manner, leading to strong personal and family outcomes. CCS networks across multiple service systems resulting in professional partnerships and client-centred collaborative working relationships effecting real change in people’s lives.
> CCS clients are from refugee or migrant backgrounds and are Australian residents or Australian citizens.
SRSS delivers support services to people while they are seeking to resolve their immigration status. Most people in this category have arrived by boat without a valid visa and are seeking asylum in Australia. Other people receiving SRSS support include people who arrived with a valid visa but who are, for whatever reason, awaiting immigration status resolution after the expiry or cancellation of that visa.
SRSS works with people who are in a range of situations, including those in community detention and those living in the community on Bridging Visas (it does not include adults or families in Immigration Detention Facilities – ‘held detention’). The level of SRSS service varies depending on client need. Broadly, it is a case management program that includes a range of ‘meaningful engagement’ opportunities for clients who may have restricted access to mainstream activities – like work and study. SRSS in not tailored to a settlement outcome as most SRSS recipients are not eligible for permanent settlement in Australia under current government policy.
> SRSS recipients are not officially refugees, although most are waiting to have their refugee claims processed. They are not Australian residents as they have no substantive Australian visa. Generally they are people seeking asylum.
The Safe Haven Hub develops and supports pathways to education, training and employment for Safe Haven Enterprise Visa (SHEV) holders, Temporary Protection Visa (TPV) holders, Bridging Visa E holders, former humanitarian entrants and recently arrived migrants.
The programme supports clients who are experiencing difficulty gaining employment or engaging in education and / or training. The SHH will also provide support for employers and post-employment support for clients.
The Safe Haven Hub will also provide transitional services to SHEV and TPV holders and will run a drop-in service for settlement support for people ineligible for other settlement services.
Department of Social Services (Settlement and Multicultural Affairs)
Department of Immigration and Border Protection (Refugee and humanitarian program)
Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National)
Australian Red Cross (Tasmania)
Migrant Resource Centre (Hobart)
Multicultural Access Point (Tasmanian Government)
MSP has a large and active group of volunteers. Volunteers are an integral part of the work we do in most areas of our multicultural programs. They provide support to humanitarian entrants and asylum seekers, they help run the ‘Stitch’ group work craft and sewing program, and they act as study mentors for our homework and English conversation group activities.
We recognise that volunteers all have different skills and availability, so our Volunteer Coordinator ensures we find the right fit for the right person.
We are always looking to recruit new volunteers and add to our register. If you are interested please click below for more information on how to register.