Economic isolation is one of the barriers facing refugees as they grapple with language difficulties, lack of professional recognition and lack of local knowledge.
Speaking at a Need to Belong event during Refugee Week, Mahir Momand, CEO of Thrive Refugee Enterprise, said a lack of local experience was one of the major obstacles refugees faced in the community.
"[There are] a large number of refugees who are actually willing to work and are skilled, who have come from professions that... the Australian labour market needs but they don’t have that local experience. So as a result of that they face economic isolation," Mr Momand said.
Thrive Refugee Enterprise is a not-for-profit organisation established with funds from corporate and private private donors to provide micro-financing and business support for refugee entrepreneurs to start and grow new businesses.
According to its website, "refugees and asylum seekers are eager for a fresh start. By supporting their business enterprises, Thrive enables and empowers them to become financially independent, to create jobs, and to integrate faster and more successfully as active contributors to our economy and society."
Mr Momand said providing refugees and asylum seekers with the opportunity to have their qualifications recognised within Australia or start their own small businesses could be beneficial not only for refugees, but also for the Australian economy.
"[Refugees and asylum seekers] are as Australian as everyone else and they have not taken anyone else’s job. They are not a burden on centrelink benefits or anything as such and they have brought with them food and culture that makes Australia the great Australia it is."
Momand also believes that providing tools to become economically independent will also combat social isolation.
"That creation of awareness is the other element of our work, and I believe events like [Need To Belong] and some of our other events would potentially help in creating more and more awareness in the Australian community about the fact that refugees are actually a positive thing and good to have.
"A spokesman for the Asylum Seekers Centre said one thing which clearly accentuated the difficulties was a sense of isolation, of not belonging.
"Feeling like you are part of community, making friends and developing your own networks is one of the most important aspects of building a new life."
The ASC recognises refugees and asylum seekers face many barriers that contribute to isolation, such as difficulty with English language, skill and qualification recognition, lack of local experience, complicated visas, and discrimination.
With recent restrictions to Federal Government economic support, refugees and asylum seekers were at further risk of isolation, according to the ASC.
"Up until recently, people seeking asylum received some basic financial assistance from government, while they were waiting on the outcome of their claim for protection. Recently, the government has started to cut people seeking asylum off this vital support...Many face destitution and homelessness as a result of this decision," the spokesman said.