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Call for end to unjust process

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The St Vincent de Paul Society has called on the Federal Government to immediately end its punitive approach to asylum seekers, most of whom have been living in the community for up to eight years with little or no access to social security.

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“These vulnerable women, men and children – some of whom were born in Australia – have been subject to the so-called ‘fast-track’ refugee claim process established in 2014,” said Claire Victory, national president of the Society.

“This process is unjust and unfair, including denying effective review of decisions on their refugee status determination.”

Ms Victory, an Adelaide lawyer, recently called on the Federal Government to extend payments and support to people seeking asylum, particularly in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Thousands of people across Australia are now seeking assistance from depleted charities, as these bridging visa holders are left destitute and at severe risk of homelessness,” she said.

“Most of the state and territory governments are now offering some assistance to these asylum seekers but unfortunately, as far as we are aware, the governments of South Australia and Western Australia have not done so.

“However, it is only the Federal Government that can end the punitive ‘fast track’ process and instead offer these asylum seekers the same fair consideration for permanent residence in Australia, which is available to other people seeking protection in our country. It should do this immediately.”

Since March the Vinnies Migrant and Refugee Centre in Adelaide has seen a threefold demand for assistance from asylum seekers on temporary visas who are not eligible for either the JobSeeker or the JobKeeper allowance.

“They have no back-up,” Ms Victory said.

 

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