Migration and settlement in Australia are complex processes. These processes can take years and pose a considerable challenge to CALD communities. Furthermore, migrants face many challenges that can affect their health and well-being, such as discrimination, isolation and lack of access to services in their language. So, what services and support can CALD communities expect while navigating these complicated processes?
What Are CALD Communities?
CALD Communities – Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) is a term used to describe a range of diverse people. They include those who speak languages other than English at home, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and people from refugee backgrounds. Also, migrants who arrived in Australia after 1945, people born overseas but have lived here most of their lives, and women from non-English speaking backgrounds (NESB).
Impacts of Migration & Settlement in Australia
Migration and settlement in Australia create many challenges for CALD communities. These challenges include economic, social and cultural. For instance, immigration can provide opportunities for employment in the host country. Migrants may find jobs that were previously unavailable to them in their home country. This is especially true for skilled workers who can fill shortages in specific industries such as medicine or engineering. But on the other hand, migration may also have adverse economic effects if it results in high unemployment rates among local workers competing against newly arrived immigrants for jobs (known as ‘labour market displacement’).
Cultural Identity & Belonging
Cultural identity and belonging are essential for CALD communities. They are impacted by migration and settlement in Australia, as well as other factors such as language, religion and gender.
CALD communities have been shaped by their experiences of migration and settlement in Australia. This includes:
- how long they have been here;
- what generation they belong to (for example, first-generation migrants);
- whether they have come from a country where English is spoken or not;
- whether they speak English at home. If so, whether it is their first language or another language like Mandarin Chinese or Vietnamese.
Integration and Inclusion
Integration and inclusion are complex processes that involve many factors, including culture, language, social norms and values. The migration and settlement experiences of CALD communities in Australia can impact these factors.
The term ‘integration’ refers to people from different backgrounds coming together as one community with shared values and cultures. Furthermore, integration involves building relationships between people from different cultural backgrounds so they feel accepted as equals within society at large. The term ‘inclusion’ refers to ensuring that all community members have equal opportunity to participate fully in all aspects of life regardless of their race or ethnicity (Migration Council Australia).
Settlement in Australia – CALD Youth Challenges
CALD youth face unique challenges when settling in Australia. For instance, they may struggle with language barriers, cultural differences, and peer isolation. Additionally, they may face discrimination and racism, which can negatively impact their mental health and well-being. So, building a sense of belonging and community is essential for CALD youth as they navigate their new lives in Australia. However, specialist support services, community programs, and opportunities to connect with others with similar experiences can build a migrant’s sense of belonging. Essentially, Australia needs to continue prioritising CALD youth’s needs and ensuring they have the resources and support they need to thrive.
Settlement Challenges for CALD Refugees with Disabilities
Settling in Australia can be challenging for refugees from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds, especially those with disabilities. These individuals face a range of obstacles, from language barriers and cultural differences to navigating complex healthcare and disability support systems. Accessing appropriate services can be a significant challenge for CALD refugees with disabilities, and many struggle to find the support they need to integrate into their new community. Additionally, the way refugees with trauma backgrounds access services requires sensitive management and specialist support. Despite these challenges, many CALD refugees who receive professional, empathetic support show resilience and determination to overcome these obstacles to build a new life in Australia.