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Australian Catholic Migrant & Refugee Office

ACMRO News March 2022

International Catholic Migrant Commission

Labour Recruitment and Human Trafficking

Migrant workers often have to accept unsafe and unfair work and must live in precarious conditions. They are exposed to various forms of slavery and lack a welfare system protecting them. They are among the victims of the widespread “culture of waste”, which - Pope Francis reminds us - is at the origin of the inequality that afflicts the world.

This Bulletin looks at solutions that might help build a new future for work, offering decent and dignified working conditions, in which the most vulnerable are not left behind. A future that strives to provide proper work everywhere, for those staying in their homeland and for newcomers too. A world where all workers are treated equally, without discrimination or exploitation and with due regard for their rights.

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International Catholic Migrant Commission

NZ deal welcomed, but other asylum-seekers need a solution

On 24 March, Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews announced that 150 asylum-seekers in Australia will be able to resettle in New Zealand per year for three years. The deal was first introduced by former prime ministers Julia Gillard and John Key in 2013.

“The decision is well overdue given the New Zealand Government made the offer nine years ago,” said Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, chair of the Bishops Commission for Social Justice, Mission and Service.

“The Catholic community continues to support and pray for all refugees and asylum-seekers in Australia and in offshore detention.”

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International Catholic Migrant Commission

Parishes and Stakeholders Providing Pastoral Care for Seasonal Workers Network

The newly formed national network held an online, introductory meeting on 3 March. The Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office (ACMRO) and Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans (ACRATH) are convening the sessions. The purpose of the network is to work closely with the parishes and stakeholders who provide pastoral care for seasonal workers, assist with information sharing, capability-building and networking to better understand and facilitate the concerns and welfare of seasonal workers.

Many of the seasonal workers come from our neighbouring countries, including the Pacific islands. Like many others they are facing significant challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic, workplace conditions, possible exploitation, poor accommodation, and hidden deductions from their salaries. In June 2016, Judge Jarrett in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia in Brisbane, heard one of the workers from Vanuatu lament: “Working for my boss was like slavery times.” More than just a statement, it is a sad reality which continues to this day.

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Australian Catholic Migrant & Refugee Office
GPO Box 2720
Canberra ACT 2601

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