Before being compelled to leave his homeland in search of asylum, Iranian-born Mohsen had successfully attained a Bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering, specialising in prosthetics and orthodontics. Throughout his studies, he worked in the banking sector, an experience that unexpectedly sparked his interest in finance.

Despite his education in the medical field and experience in finance, Mohsen faced challenges in securing employment in either sector in Australia.

“I applied for so many jobs all over Sydney, but no one would give me a chance,” he said.

Mohsen still has all 37 employment rejection letters sitting in his email inbox. He looks at them from time to time for motivation.

“I faced a disheartening pattern of consistent rejection, with doors being slammed shut in my face despite all efforts,” he reflected.

Mohsen’s limited proficiency in English proved to be a major challenge in obtaining work. Due to being on a temporary bridging visa, he couldn’t initially access English courses. But he remained determined in his conviction, that “no one can stop [him] from learning”.

Mohsen’s language proficiency not only affected his job prospects but also his confidence.

“It’s easy for people to understand that language barriers are hard, but they don’t understand how it feels to experience it… My confidence plunged to its lowest depths,” he said.

“When you only know a mere ten words of English, anxiety takes hold, leaving you unable to recall even those few words during job interviews,” Mohsen recalled.

Upon obtaining the permissions through his visa, Mohsen enrolled in SSI’s Refugee Employment Support Program (RESP) and participated in work readiness workshops, gaining insights into the local job market, establishing networks, and connecting with mentors. He enrolled in English courses at TAFE and decided to study a Bachelor of Business, majoring in Applied Finance through a scholarship.

In 2022, Mohsen successfully found a job opportunity with the ANZ bank, a transformative stepping stone into the financial industry for him.

Unfortunately, Mohsen’s temporary protection visa imposed further limitations, which hindered his prospects for ongoing employment at ANZ.

Yet, demonstrating resilience once again, Mohsen leveraged his financial knowledge to establish his own successful business, In2mortgages, as an independent mortgage broker.

Reflecting on his journey, Mohsen wanted to remind employers of the potential of empowering refugees, “Whilst it is unfortunate that they have had to leave their home countries, it presents a unique opportunity for employers in Australia.”

“Diversity brings opportunities to employers. They are fortunate to have access to this pool of diverse and talented people who can bring unique perspectives into their workplaces,” he said.

“At the end of the day, we [refugees] are going to open our own business, just like I have done. It is the employers who are missing out on seizing the opportunities that come with hiring us.”

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