Today’s guest blogger, David Wilden, is the First Assistant Secretary Immigration and Citizenship Policy at the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. In this role he is responsible for policy development and advice for temporary and permanent visas in the skilled, family and humanitarian programmes. David joined the Department in 2005. Over the course of his public service career, David has worked in a range of departments and agencies including Centrelink and the Public Service Commission.
Australia has a long and proud tradition of resettling refugees and people in humanitarian need. Since the end of World War II, we have provided permanent resettlement to over 865,000 people from around the world.
Today, Australia continues to be one of the top three countries for resettlement of refugees and I’m pleased that we are among a small number of countries that have a permanent annual resettlement programme. Our Government is committed to assisting those in difficult and desperate situations overseas. In the past 10 years, Australia has resettled humanitarian entrants from 100 different countries.
This week, we celebrate Refugee Week (June 18 – 24). Australia recognises the plight of refugees worldwide, the magnitude and complexity of issues that give rise to refugee situations, and the resilience of refugees living in such situations.
We also celebrate the positive contribution that refugees have made to Australia, and acknowledge the efforts of a range of government and non-government organisations in helping refugees settle into and succeed in Australian society.
This year’s theme for Refugee Week is ‘success stories of first generation Humanitarian Programme entrants’. Refugees overcome many barriers in their efforts to engage fully in Australian life. They contribute to Australia’s diversity—a diversity of cultures, skills and talents—and demonstrate personal drive and commitment by seeking out education and training, employment and entrepreneurial opportunities. Many have gone on to build successful careers or academic success in business, education, sport and in the community sector.
I’m honoured that ten humanitarian entrants have shared their stories and contributions to our society. The featured entrants have come from Syria, Iraq, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo and include a Sydney Swans footballer, a doctor, psychologist, welfare worker, business owner and an architect. Their stories are inspiring and deeply moving.
You can read their stories and watch their videos at www.border.gov.au/refugeeweek