Linda’s Story 

When Linda moved to Australia in 2018 seeking safety, her bridging visa made it hard to find a job. Back home in Iraq, she held a position of genuine responsibility, overseeing employee health and safety within the oil and gas industry. In a new country, though, Linda says that, when it comes to finding employment that reflects her interest and proven experience, many aspects of her migrant story have been stressful.

“The challenge is because of my status situation,” Linda says. “It feels unfair sometimes. You know what you’re capable of and what you deserve, but you have to say goodbye to what has gone before and start your career at entry level again – no matter how many qualifications you already have.”

Linda says that her circumstances improved when she connected with the ASRC. Although her first interaction with the ASRC was to access other key services, Linda learned more about the employment support ASRC offers and took part in the vocational program.

Being taught how to write a CV to suit the expectations of the Australian job market enabled Linda to showcase her training and qualifications — and her history of working within large, corporate organisations — to potential employers.

“Once I was able to present a professional CV, I think they had more confidence in hiring me,” Linda says.

Thanks to the support she received from ASRC, Linda’s first full-time job in Australia was as a Health and Safety Administrator with a renowned infrastructure and transport company in Melbourne.
In February 2022, Linda landed a job as a Health and Safety Coordinator for a public transport company in Melbourne and while she is not at the senior level she was in Iraq, she is hopeful her visa status changes and more senior opportunities come up for her in the future.

Today, Linda focuses on keeping herself updated with the latest trends in the Health and Safety industry and she’d love to find an employer who values the breadth of experience from her professional life back in Iraq. She believes that the perseverance and resilience that was already an integral part of who she was have been strengthened by her journey to safety in Australia.

For Linda, having secure employment is vital – both practically and emotionally. “I have family in Iraq and, in Australia, I have to depend on myself and support myself financially,” Linda says.

While she is grateful for the employment experience she has gained in Australia with the support of the ASRC, Linda describes herself as someone who doesn’t want to feel stuck in one situation.“Each year, I like to reflect on the progress I have made, then try to reach for the next step,” she says.
Although she admits to feeling down at times, she knows that holding onto hope is important. Despite the many obstacles still in her way, Linda’s focus on positivity motivates her to retrain and pursue her original career dreams of a senior leadership role in the health and safety sector.

“I always think that when a door closes, another door will open. You never know when life will give you opportunities,” Linda says. “It is better now for me, but Australian employers still need more awareness about how individual our migrant experiences are – and to create workplaces that are welcoming and understanding. Just because we are all migrants, we are not all the same and, just like any group of people in the community, some of us have high-level skills that can add value.”

If you empathise with Linda’s story and you want to find out tips and ways to make the workforce more welcoming for refugees, fill out the form and download the resource.

You can also get in touch through the form by leaving a message of welcome for Linda.

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Into the Workforce

The ASRC would like to acknowledge the Wurundjeri and Bunurong people of the Kulin Nation as traditional owners and custodians of the land on which the ASRC stands. We acknowledge that the land was never ceded and we pay our respect to them, their customs, their culture, to elders past and present and to their emerging leaders.

This landing page is part of the campaign ‘Welcome Refugees into the Workforce’; an awareness campaign created as part of a partnership between ASRC and Yarra Trams which provides free tram wraps to community organisations making a positive impact on diversity and inclusion in Melbourne. The ASRC’s WELCOME tram wrap will feature on a wrapped tram that will travel on tram routes 48 and 109 in Melbourne from June to September 2023.