By Alesha Capone
Wyndham has become home to the second-highest number of migrants in the state, within a 12-month period.
Of the 84,327 migrants who came to Victoria during the 2018-19 financial year, 5525 migrants settled in Wyndham.
Out of the state’s 79 municipalities, only the City of Melbourne recorded more newly-arrived people settling within its borders, with 7030 migrants, according to statistics from the Department of Home Affairs.
Wyndham Community and Education Centre settlement services co-ordinator Richard Dove said it was important for migrants to engage with their new communities, through factors such as employment and education.
“If a person feels good, they will feel engaged,” he said.
Mr Dove said it was also important for programs to be funded to help support migrants, with workers in roles such as engagement and settlement.
“You can’t just plonk people in a new country and expect them to fit it – you have to be able to work at it and help them fit in,” he said.
Mr Dove said it was particularly important to help migrants feel engaged during their first six to 12 months in a new nation.
“If you don’t find a way to help people feel positive in their environment, negativity can set in for years,” he said.
“If you get somebody who comes as a doctor but ends up working as a taxi-driver, the rest of the community knows their doctor is driving a cab, so they think, ‘if our doctor can’t even get a job, what hope is there for the rest of us?’”
Mr Dove said overall, migration was a positive for the community, but required work just like any relationship.
“You only have to look at the Italian story, to see what the Italians have brought to Wyndham,” he said.
“Obviously, that was a different time and the community was much smaller then, but they all went through teething problems, found their niche in society and now Italians are seen to have made an extremely positive contribution to Wyndham.”