Telling Our Stories: Resilience during Resettlement for African Skilled Migrants in Australia

Lillian Mwanri, Leticia Anderson, Kathomi Gatwiri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
30 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Emigration to Australia by people from Africa has grown steadily in the past two decades, with skilled migration an increasingly significant component of migration streams. Challenges to resettlement in Australia by African migrants have been identified, including difficulties securing employment, experiences of racism, discrimination and social isolation. These challenges can negatively impact resettlement outcomes, including health and wellbeing. There has been limited research that has examined protective and resilience factors that help highly skilled African migrants mitigate the aforementioned challenges in Australia. This paper discusses how individual and community resilience factors supported successful resettlement Africans in Australia. The paper is contextualised within a larger study which sought to investigate how belonging and identity inform Afrodiasporic experiences of Africans in Australia. Methods: A qualitative inquiry was conducted with twenty-seven (n = 27) skilled African migrants based in South Australia, using face-to-face semi-structured interviews. Participants were not directly questioned about ‘resilience,’ but were encouraged to reflect critically on how they navigated the transition to living in Australia, and to identify factors that facilitated a successful resettlement. Results: The study findings revealed a mixture of settlement experiences for participants. Resettlement challenges were observed as barriers to fully meeting expectations of emigration. However, there were significant protective factors reported that supported resilience, including participants’ capacities for excellence and willingness to work hard; the social capital vested in community and family support net-works; and African religious and cultural values and traditions. Many participants emphasised their pride in their contributions to Australian society as well as their desire to contribute to changing narratives of what it means to be African in Australia. Conclusions: The findings demonstrate that despite challenges, skilled African migrants’ resilience, ambition and determination were significant enablers to a healthy resettlement in Australia, contributing effectively to social, economic and cultural expectations, and subsequently meeting most of their own migration intentions. These findings suggest that resilience factors identified in the study are key elements of integration.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3954
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2021


  • African migrants
  • Australia
  • Race
  • Resilience


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