Along with national planned migration schemes and targets, there are an increasing number of humanitarian crises occurring in the world which constantly change the global patterns of migration.
" All new arrivals to Australia need to have appropriate access … and the right support … to learn to effectively use the Australian financial system.”Getting access to banking services, being able make payments, save, and have access to safe and affordable credit are critical for migrants and new arrivals to establish their new life in Australia.
Settlement support for new arrivals is required across many domains – including housing, education, employment - but critical to all these activities is having capabilities and opportunities to engage effectively and safely with the financial system.
For Australia to achieve a fully inclusive society, all new arrivals to Australia need to have appropriate access to and the right support for them to learn to effectively use the Australian financial system. This access and support then facilitates their participation both economically and socially in their new country.
Having access to financial education is a matter of equity. Every person in our monetised society has the right to learn about money and how it works. By embracing new arrivals, we are obligated to ensure they are equipped with the right financial products and services and have access to opportunities to develop the financial education that will give them the best chance to thrive in their new country.
Without the right set of capabilities, new arrivals, especially those from non-English speaking backgrounds (NESB), are vulnerable to high cost, short-term loans, scams and unsolicited selling. The consequences of this lack of capabilities relating to finances can lead to escalation in debt, poor credit ratings, long-term financial hardship and enormous stress.
Financial capabilities are needed as soon as people arrive in Australia.
Typically, new arrivals need to find housing, be able to use public transport, use the healthcare system and gain employment. Further down the settlement pathway, their goals may include starting a small business, acquiring assets and/or continuing education.
Each of these activities have a financial aspect that needs to be understood and successfully navigated. Successful achievement of these activities and goals requires the financial sector understand the new arrival’s needs at each stage of their settlement journey. This then allows the financial sector to consider how best to provide timely information, systems, resources and products to meet the needs of new arrivals at each stage of settlement.
Approximately 35 per cent of Australia’s population aged 15 and over were born overseas. Migration to Australia is predicted to continue to increase given our economic and labour needs and changing demographic profile.
There has been a particularly rapid rise in temporary migration to Australia over the last 10-15 years. In 2016, approximately 1.7 million people aged 15 years and over were recent migrants or temporary residents (including those on student visas). In the year 2017-2018 nearly 400,000 student visas were granted with a large proportion of these students from non-English speaking countries.
While long-term temporary arrivals and international student enrolments are lucrative for universities and the Australian economy, Australia in turn has an obligation to ensure these groups of people can effectively navigate the financial system.
They require access to financial information that will ensure their stay in Australia is successful and contributes to their overall wellbeing.