Research Reports and Evaluations - Page 12

New Arrivals and Asylum Seekers Over 44% of respondents were born overseas. This is largely consistent with the make up of the City of Whittlesea where over 40% of residents speak a language other than English at home. However, recency of arrival seems to play an important role in financial vulnerability. Of the 44% of overall respondents who were born outside Australia 58.5% had arrived in the 2 years between 2012 and 2014. This represents a significant proportion of all respondents and is an indication of the challenges many face in successfully re-settling in a new country. Of the 111 survey respondents born overseas, just over a third were born in Iran (34.5%), Sir Lanka (15.4%) and Iraq (14.5%). This is reflective of current migration trends in the broader community. In recent years, WCC has seen a sharp increase in the number of asylum seekers accessing ER services. Anecdotally, staff have highlighted the impact of government policy on asylum seekers’ access to adequate income, work and education opportunities. Limited eligibility for a range of services and the cost of daily living expenses on minimal or no income has edged many asylum seekers into serious financial hardship. There are approximately 1,000 asylum seekers currently living in the City of Whittlesea. According to data released by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, the highest concentration of asylum seeker communities reside in Lalor, Thomastown and Epping. Consistent with country of arrival, most respondents who indicated they spoke a language other than English at home identified Persian(12.2%), Arabic (11%) and Tamil (6.7%) as their preferred language. Living Arrangements, Income, Cost of Living, Housing A research report released by ACOSS in 2014 showed that 2.5 million people in Australia are living below the poverty line. This figure includes 603,000 children11. Many people living below the poverty line are forced to make trade-offs between basic needs, often resulting in people going without food, medication or transport. The ACOSS poverty report highlighted that the people most likely to be living in poverty are those who are unemployed, or in a household that relies on social security as its main source of income. Born Overseas 44.4% COB for those born overseas 14.5% Iraq 15.4% Sri Lanka Iran 34.5 % “I would like to thank the organisations that help us. We can’t work and study, hence it is impossible to live with two children” “As a single mum without any family in the country these type of organizations provides us support when we're in trouble” 11 ACOSS (2014), Poverty in Australia, http://www.acoss.org.au/images/uploads/ACOSS_Poverty_in_Australia_201 4.pdf 13