Silhouettes of people on a beach

Migration, Ethno-Racial, Cultural and Intersectionality@Work Research Group

Understanding Australia’s diverse workforce
We research issues related to migration, how migrants experience work, and how Australia manages workplace diversity.

Our newest research 

A recent study led by Dimitria Groutsis from the University of Sydney, along with Jock Collins from UTS and Carol Reid from UWS, reveals positive settlement outcomes for new refugee families in Australia. The research, conducted between 2017 and 2022, shows significant improvements in employment, education, language proficiency, and social belonging for refugees from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. The study followed 246 refugee families in suburban and regional areas across NSW, Queensland, and Victoria.

Download the full report (pdf, 3.1MB)

A group of academics holding the newly released report

About us

Australia is a diverse nation, with almost half of the population either born overseas or having at least one parent born overseas.

A significant rise of temporary migration pathways into Australia over the course of the last two decades, has also created a transient and diverse range of migrant workers.

The Migration, Ethno-Racial, Cultural and Intersectionality@Work Research Group (MERCI@Work Research Group) is a multidisciplinary research community focused on issues related to permanent and temporary migration and cross-cultural and workplace diversity management. We work with the national and international research community, business groups, and government and non-government agencies, with a particular focus on:

  • how migrants experience work and employment in Australia and overseas
  • the international, national and supranational regulations and governance structures surrounding labour mobility
  • how the context and history of migration shapes diversity management practices in contemporary firms.

The MERCI@Work Research Group conducts research in all aspects of migrants’ employment including:

  • migration and diversity policies and the impact on employment outcomes
  • mapping different stakeholders in migration and settlement processes
  • migration, diversity and human resource management
  • employee strategies in finding employment
  • career progression of culturally diverse people
  • employment outcomes for migrants from different skills and visas (including low-skilled, high-skilled migrants, temporary and permanent migrants and refugees)
  • the role of intermediaries in migration and integration processes
  • employment outcomes in different industries including the health sector and agriculture among others.

Settlement Outcomes of Refugee Families in Australia

In 2017 the number of refugees arriving in Australia effectively doubled the intake of previous decades. This is because most of the special one-off intake of 12,000 Syrian Conflict refugees that was announced by Prime Minister Abbott in 2015 in fact arrived in 2017. In addition, the annual intake of humanitarian entrants was increased to 16,250 in 2017-18. Most of these newly-arrived refugee families settled in NSW, Victoria and Queensland.

As part of a study on Settlement Outcomes of Refugee Families in Australia, funded by the Australian Research Council, and led by Professor Jock Collins (University of Technology Sydney), Professor Carol Reid (Western Sydney University), and Associate Professor Dimitria Groutsis (University of Sydney), three years of data collection has been completed. With the assistance of partners in the project, we interviewed and surveyed newly arrived refugee families from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, in metropolitan and regional locations in two states: New South Wales, partnered with Settlement Services International; and Queensland, partnered with Multicultural Development Australia Ltd, and Access Community Services. AMES Australia, a further partner in the research, interviewed and surveyed newly arrived refugee families from Syria and Iraq, in metropolitan Melbourne and in regional Shepparton, Victoria.

Research Outputs

A number of snapshots are available for the different locations where data was collected:

Business School
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Law School
Faculty of Health Sciences
External (national members)
Business, NGO, Policy Connections and Current Partners
International Researcher/Research Group Links

Links have also been established with key scholars/research centres in the field of migration overseas:

Please check back, more events will be scheduled soon. 

Rethinking permanent skilled migration after the pandemic
  • 5 August 2021

This is the first report in a series on immigration policy from the Grattan Institute. More information is available on the event page

Death, injury and other workplace violations against migrant workers – A sector level analysis

  • 27 November 2020

The webinar is hosted by the University of Sydney Business School’s Sydney Employment Relations Research Group (SERRG) and the Migrants@Work Research Group. More information is available on the event page

Organization Studies Special Issue on Social diversity and Precarious Organizations - Paper Development Online Workshop

  • 30 September 2020

The goal of the workshop is to discuss working manuscripts with the aim of submission for review at the Special Issue. The workshop will accommodate participation from authors in various time-zones. More information can be found on the event page

Bridges or Barriers? The Long-Term Earnings Effects of Immigrants’ Early Labor Market Adversities

  • 5 March 2020
  • Dr Rupa Banerjee, Ted Rogers School of Business Management, Ryerson University

This paper utilizes a life course approach to investigate the long-term effects of immigrants’ early adverse labor market experiences in the host country on their earnings.
More information and registration on the event page

The leadership potential of multicultural individuals: Examining how multicultural leaders can produce superior performance in multicultural teams

  • 17 October 2019
  • Dr Lee Martin, Deakin University

This seminar presents a theory of multicultural leadership effectiveness with reference to literatures on leadership, international management and team diversity.
More information and registration on the event page

When White and Minority Workers Perceive Discrimination at Work: Racial Stress and White Fragility

  • 28 November 2018
  • Eddy Ng, Dalhousie University, Canada

Based on a survey of working professionals, we find evidence that Whites experience more negative psychological effects from perceived discrimination than minority employees and are more likely to act to restore conditions of privilege by leaving their current job and employer. More information on the event page.

'Restrictive generosity or open selfishness? Welfare regimes and refugee labour market integration in comparative perspective'

  • Annika Kaabel, Estonian Business School
  • 27 September 2018

This event aimed to understand the underlying reasons for different policy approaches towards refugees’ labour market integration by focusing in particular on the existing welfare state as an explanatory variable.

Refugees, Settlement and Employment: An international perspective

  • Professor Jock Collins; Dr Shahd Wari; Professor Pieter Bevelander; Ümit Kiziltan
  • 15 March 2018

Public seminar on responses to Syrian-conflict refugee settlement in Australia, Germany, Sweden, Finland, UK, Canada and New Zealand

  • Professor Jock Collins; Professor Carol Reid; Associate Professor Dimitria Groutsis, UTS Business School; Western Sydney University; University of Sydney Business School
  • 14 March 2018

A public seminar hosted by the team for ARC Linkage Grant “Settlement Outcomes of Syrian-conflict Refugee Families in Australia”

Visual and linguistic symbolism of subordination: Understanding how symbolic violence works to naturalise and legitimate subordination of ethnic minority Turks in the labour market in Germany

  • Dr Joana Vassllopoulou, Brunel Business School, Brunel University
  • 21 November 2017

Staggered Pathways: The Impact of New Migrant Mobilities on Career and Life Transitions

  • Shanthi Robertson, Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University
  • 26 October 2017

An analysis from current work on the social impacts of the 'staggered pathways' of Asian temporary migrants to Australia, focusing on migrants who have moved across different visa categories over time.

The workplace as a cultural battleground: The emergence of transnationalism from lived experiences of migrant professionals.

  • Dr Kyoung-Hee Yu, UNSW Business School
  • 29 August 2017

Investigates migrant professionals’ responses to cultural pressures in the workplace and the process by which transnational outlooks emerge out of lived experience.

Horticulture Labour Project Forum

  • Migrants@Work Research Group, University of Sydney Business School; University of Adelaide
  • 11 May 2017

The 2017-2018 Horticulture Labour Project builds directly on a project that the same research team is conducting for Horticulture Innovation Australia in 2016 examining labour supply challenges in the vegetable sector.

Symposium on Migration and Work and JIR Special Issue

  • Migrants@Work Research Group, University of Sydney Business School
  • 6 February 2017

A symposium to provide feedback and help potential contributors develop papers on ‘Migration and Work’ for a special issue of the Journal of Industrial Relations (JIR) in 2019.

Explore our recent work.


Van Den Broek, D., Groutsis, D. (2020). Women, Work and Migration. Abingdon, United Kingdom: Routledge.


Howe J, Clibborn S, Reilly A, Van Den Broek D, and Wright C (2019) Towards a durable future: Tackling labour challenges in the Australian horticulture industry.

Howe J, Clibborn S, Reilly A, Van Den Broek D, and Wright C (2019) Towards a durable future: Tackling labour challenges in the Australian horticulture industry: Appendices


Clibborn S (2018) 'Multiple frames of reference: Why international student workers in Australia tolerate underpayment' Economic and Industrial Democracy, In Press

Clibborn S, and Wright C (2018) 'Employer theft of temporary migrant workers' wages in Australia: Why has the state failed to act?' Economic and Labour Relations Review, In Press.

Groutsis D, O’Leary J and Russell G (2018) 'Capitalizing on the cultural and linguistic diversity of mobile talent: lessons from an Australian study', International Journal of Human Resource Management

Harvey W, Groutsis D and van den Broek D 2018 'Intermediaries and destination reputations: explaining flows of skilled migration', Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, vol.44:4, pp. 644-662

Howe J, Reilly A, van den Broek D and Wright CF 2018 'A tale of two tisas: Interrogating the substitution effect between Pacific seasonal sorkers and backpackers in addressing horticultural labour supply Challenges and Worker Exploitation', Australian Journal of Labour Law

Rajani N, Ng ES and Groutsis D 2018 'From India to Canada: An autoethnographic account of an international student’s decision to settle as a self-initiated expatriate', Canadian Ethnic Studies, vol.50:1, pp. 129-148

Reilly A, Howe J, van den Broek D and Wright CF 2018 Forthcoming 'Working holiday makers in Australian horticulture: Labour market effect, exploitation and avenues for reform', Griffith Law Review

Underhill E, Groutsis D, van den Broek D and Rimmer M 2018 'Migration intermediaries and codes of conduct: Temporary migrant Wworkers in Australian horticulture', Journal of Business Ethics

van den Broek D and Groutsis D 2017 Forthcoming 'Women, Work and Migration (Palgrave Migration and Diaspora Series)', Palgrave


Baines D and van den Broek D 2017 'Coercive care: Control and coercion in the restructured care workplace', British Journal of Social Work Vol 47:1 pp.125-42

Howe J, Reilly A, van den Broek D & Wright CF ‘Sustainable solutions: The future of labour supply in the Australian vegetable industry’ Horticulture Innovation Australia Report

Taksa L and Groutsis D 2017 'Swings and roundabouts: Reconsidering equal employment opportunity, affirmative action and diversity management in Australia from a historical perspective' in International Perspectives on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion - Management and Diversity: Thematic Approaches (Volume 4), ed. Chanlat, J-F and Ozbligin, MF, Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, United Kingdom, pp. 255-82

van den Broek D 2017 'Perforated body work: The case of tele-nursing', Work, Employment and Society, vol.31:6, pp.904-920

van den Broek D and Groutsis D 2017 'Global nursing and the lived experience of migration intermediaries', Work Employment and Society, vol.31:5, pp.851-60

Wright CF 2017 'Employer organizations and labour immigration policy in Australia and the United Kingdom: The power of political salience and social institutional legacies', British Journal of Industrial Relations, vol.55:2, pp. 347-71

Wright CF, Groutsis D and van den Broek D 2017 'Employer-sponsored temporary labour migration schemes in Australia, Canada and Sweden: enhancing efficiency, compromising fairness?', Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, vol.43:11, pp. 1854-72

Wright CF and Clibborn S 2017 'Back door, side door or front door? An emerging de-facto low-skilled immigration policy in Australia', Comparative Labor Law and Policy Journal, vol.39:1, pp.101-126


Groutsis D, Martin L, Lattouf A, Soutphommasane T, Lumby C, Young N, Crawford J, and Robertson A 2022 ‘Who Gets to Tell Australian Stories? 2.0Media Diversity Australia


Groutsis D, Cooper R and Whitwell G 2018 'Beyond the pale: Cultural diversity on ASX 100 boards', Australian Institute of Corporate Directors (AICD) and the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)

Collins J, Reid C, Groutsis D, Watson K and Ozkul D 2018 'Syrian and Iraqi Refugee Settlement in Australia' Working Paper No.1

van den Broek D and Groutsis D 2018 'Benchmarking diversity and inclusion practices in Australia', Diversity Council Australia and the Australian HR Institute


O’Leary J, Groutsis D and D’Almada-Remedios R 2017 'Cracking the glass-cultural ceiling: future proofing your business in the 21st century', Diversity Council Australia

Howe J, Reilly A, van den Broek D and Wright CF 2017 'Sustainable solutions: The future of labour supply in the Australian vegetable industry', Horticulture Innovation Australia


The canvas ceiling

Overcoming the systemic issues refugees face in finding employment

The benefits and challenges of immigration


Dimitria Groutsis
Dr Dimitria Groutsis
Academic profile


Minority Report with Dimitria Groutsis