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Seminar explores Australia's "over-qualified and under-valued" foreign workers

Victoria University’s Institute for Community, Ethnicity and Policy Alternatives will host a symposium to look at barriers that culturally-diverse people in Australia face when looking for work.

Associate Professor Santina Bertone of VU’s Faculty of Business and Law said research showed that Australian employers generally do not value the cultural and linguistic capital held by migrants and refugees.

“As a result, there are pay differentials between those who speak English and those who don’t, stunted career paths, occupational downgrading, lower access to work-related training and promotion, low pay and exploitation.”

The symposium will include speakers from government, academia, and private sector companies, including ANZ Bank and Medibank Private.

 “Australia relies heavily on overseas-trained professionals,” said Associate Professor Bertone, who is well known for her contributions to academic and policy research into immigrant workers in Australia.

“It is in the national interest, as well as the ethos of a fair go for all, that we address issues of employment barriers for skilled migrants.”

Entitled “Over-Qualified and Under-Valued: Employment Barriers for Culturally Diverse People in Australia,” the seminar comes amid recent debates about the role of international students, increasing diversity in the workplace, and Australia’s continuing strong immigration program.

The seminar will include workshops to identify factors promoting and prohibiting employment, and measures that should be adopted to address the problems.

It will also outline the research program on employment discrimination at Victoria University, an organisation recognised as having one of the most culturally diverse bodies of students and staff in Australia.

Over-Qualified and Under-Valued: Employment Barriers for Culturally- Diverse People in Australia

When: Friday 21 August 2009

Time: 9.00am-1.00pm

Where: Function Room 1, Level 12, 300 Flinders Street, City Flinders Campus, Victoria University

RSVP: Sue Butterworth by 14 August 2009. Ph: (03) 9919-5478 or sue.butterworth@vu.edu.au

Media Contact: Ann Marie Angebrandt, Media Officer, Marketing & Communications Department, Victoria University Ph:  (03) 991 5487;  mobile:  0403 556 001

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