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The Impact of Refugee Youth Experience on Development in Australia

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Added on: 2023-10-18 13:14:29
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The process of transition from being a refugee to settling in a new nation, such as Australia, is not only a complicated process, but this sort of transformative endeavor leaves a long lasting emotional imprint for individuals specifically for youth. The sole intention of this report is to intricately analyze the ramification of this transition, concerning the development of refugee youths, while determining pivotal development stage as well as areas throughout the course of this study, so that recommendations regarding how to facilitate positive development changes through support agencies can be determined, during this course of the critical period experienced by youths.

Pivotal development stages:

  • Early childhood and adolescence: The traumatic experience of the refugee youth attributed with displacement in their tender years, loss of loved ones as well as other tragic incidents, scathed their mental equilibrium to a great extent. The ramification of which, leave a long lasting impression on their psychological and as well as emotional development (Abdi et al., 2020). This imbalance in the form of trauma often manifests as behavioral issues and emotional disequilibrium in the long run, if adequate measures are not taken into consideration, then it would further affect their ability to form a secure and trustworthy relationship. According to a recent study conducted by the University of North Carolina in 2016, it is revealed that adolescents who grapple with identity formation, lacks a sense of belonging in society. The consequences of which are directly revealed in their activities later on. The feasibility of such individuals to be entangled in some sort of juvenile delinquency is inevitable in nature.
  • Education and language development: The contribution of language development as well as proper education is undeniable in nature. However, its accessibility is often a challenging landscape for refugee youths. In order to understand the gravity of the situation, it is imperative to evaluate that the process of language acquisition, which is a vital aspect of youth development, is often hindered in such instances, due to the transition. Since the transition is not a seamless phenomenon, it hinders the normalcy of life extensively. Accessibility towards education in such instances often translates into a luxury, which the refugee youth simply cannot afford. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2019, it is revealed that majority of refugee youths in Australia are unable to speak fluently, listen and interpret in English, since their vocabulary is not developed in English (Au et al., 2019). The process of imparting education as well as acquisition of necessary skills through which jobs can be secured is also a challenging phenomenon that they have to undertake. Throughout the course of this limited accessibility to quality education coupled with language barriers, often hindered the cognitive development of refugee youths, subsequently leading to a future where opportunities are extensively limited.
  • Social integration: The process of transition into a new culture is inherently a challenging experience for adults. When it comes to refugee youths, the feasibility of this challenge to be encountered on a daily basis enhances multiple fold. Owing to the fact that the concept of social integration is attributed with diverse impediments. For instance, refugee youths often experience discrimination. One of the core reasons as to why this discrimination is experienced by them is due to language differences. In consonance with a survey conducted in 2018, it is delineated that approximately 16% of refugee youths experience isolation as well as cultural shock after the transition, which hinders their ability to amalgamated with the society, even if the concept of social cohesion is practiced extensively (Fauk et al., 2021). Due to lack of emotional and social development, the refugee youths often stumble upon struggling experiences to establish friendship and foster a support network that would assist them in time of their need.
  • Economic independence: One of the noteworthy challenges attributed to the transition is beginning financial freedom. Even if the transition occurs in their tender years, due to challenging circumstances, they cannot ignore reality and look for an opportunity for self-sufficiency. However, for refugee youths to overcome discrimination, all while addressing the challenges of language acquisition and getting educational access is not feasible for the majority of individuals. The resultant vector of this impediment directly leads to employment barriers. Due to limited skill set and lack of adequate qualification, the feasibility of such refugee youths to land a job or have a stable future is bleak. Not only in deteriorate the overall well-being from a mental and physical perspective, but at the same time, this leaves a domino effect across the refugee camps, thereby leading to economic downturn (Luguetti et al., 2022).

Research findings:

  • Mental Health: Numerous studies conducted by organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNHCR have consistently shown that refugee youth face a significantly higher risk of developing mental health issues. In fact, studies indicate that up to 40% of refugee youth experience symptoms of depression and anxiety, while approximately 15% exhibit signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a direct consequence of their displacement and traumatic experiences. Left unaddressed, these mental health issues can persist into adulthood and have far-reaching implications for their overall well-being (Nickerson et al., 2019).
  • Education: Research by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) highlights the challenges faced by refugee youth in accessing quality education. According to such scholarly undertaking approximately, 73% of the refugee youth at any point of their life experience disruption in their academic endeavor. Not only they are experiencing challenges in terms of overcoming language barriers, but at the same time, due to inadequate knowledge required to address their impediment, it compounds the challenging landscape multiple fold. This, in turn, results in lower educational attainment, with up to 60% of refugee youth falling behind their age-appropriate grade levels. Such disparities in education significantly impact their long-term socio-economic development prospects (Nickerson et al., 2019).
  • Social Integration: The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has invested countless hours in terms of determining that there is a consistency specifically among refugee youths who encountered challenging landscape in the context of social integration. The scholarly endeavor undertaken by the International Organization for Migration pinpointed that approximately a substantial proportion, round about 45% of refugee youths in Australia, experienced some sort of discrimination as well as stigmatization and impediments in the realm of social cohesion which acted as hindrances for them to engage in the course of social integration. This sort of isolation excluded them from directly participating in social development. In the long run, not only it deprives them of their cultural adaptation process, but at the same time the sheer dearth of integration as well as the knowledge required to resolve this challenging landscape has completely evaporated from the mindset of this refugee youths. Ultimately, the scholarly endeavor also illustrated the fact that in order to successfully integrate in the new society, it is imperative for the refugee to find a sense of belonging in the new community. This is never a phenomenon for the refugee youths as of today, specifically for youths belonging from non-English speaking nations.
  • Employment: Multiple reports from organizations like the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) indicate that refugee youth face significant barriers in accessing job opportunities and skills training. As a result, as many as 50% of refugee youth struggle to secure stable employment, limiting their economic development and perpetuating a cycle of poverty, with long-lasting consequences for their financial independence and overall well-being (Segrave et al., 2021).


After intricately analyzing the overall landscape associated with the contribution of support agencies and its role concerning development of refugee youths, during the course of settling in the new nation, the following strategy should be emphasized significantly which are mentioned hereinunder:

  • The first course of action that the support agencies should concentrate upon is ameliorating the mental health support that is prevalent. To put it in simple perspective, it can be stated that services oriented towards addressing challenges that would alleviate mental health should be the focal point of the support agency, specifically in case of refugee youths. In view of the fact that the majority of such youths experienced tremendous traumatic circumstances during the course of the transition. As a consequence of which, this long-lasting impression leaves an emotional damage which requires extensive counseling as well as intervention. Due to lack of financial support, incorporating this intervention is not always feasible for such families. The consequences of which severely influence that youth’s mental equilibrium in a detrimental manner. Hence, addressing the psychological impact and its ramification would necessarily promote positive development which would assist them to broaden their mental horizon and look towards a brighter future (Ziersch et al., 2020).
  • In the realm of education and skill development, the contribution of support agencies also requires amendments. In view of the fact that the notion of collaboration with educational institutions of esteemed reputation is not even focused on by the support agencies. In many instances, it has been observed that the refugee youths are not even acquainted with language fluency. Hence providing tailored language programs in their native tongue would assist them to get ahead of the competitive curve, through adequate academic support. At the outset, inculcating vocational training that is oriented towards employment assistance would inherently be beneficial for refugee youth to live life as expected. One of the intriguing aspects that should be taken into consideration in this context, is that due to certain unavoidable circumstances these individuals have opted to leave their homeland and venture into a new nation. Hence, it is the responsibility of the support agencies to lend a hand and enhance the economic development opportunity, so that refugee youth can truly experience what Australia has to offer.


In essence, an inference can be drawn that the process of transition from a refugee to a settler in Australia immensely influences the development of refugee youth. Although the contribution of support agencies is unequivocally significant. However, there are scopes in terms of facilitating positive development by addressing pivotal mental and health issues. In this process, support agencies can concentrate upon advocating education as well as language acquisition based substantiating opportunities through which social integration and economic independence can be inculcated among youths. By incorporating the aforementioned recommended measures, the feasibility of support agencies to contribute significantly towards the successful social cohesion and integration would inherently result in development of refugee youths across Australia, thereby leading to a chance of augmenting their prospect for a brighter future.

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  • Posted on : October 18th, 2023
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