- ‘They give up on their education. A lot of talented students that the education system fails. I’m here, hopeful that I’ll get an opportunity to go to uni so I can get my Bachelor of Nursing and help others’ – Mani
- ‘How can you support yourself when you have to maintain your GPA and work simultaneously?’ – Bella
- ‘Those young people are lost to the system. Their intellect is lost to us. And everything they bring is lost to us’ – Eva
- ‘This is reflective of a broader problem with the way we treat refugees. It is just unacceptable that we don’t give people living in this country civil and liberal rights. Education is one example of how people on TPVs are treated, but there are many others’ – Alex
Justice for Refugees SA has given a priority this year to identifying and challenging the significant barriers to tertiary education for students on particular visas. Their education often halts at the end of secondary school because they are expected to pay international fees to enrol in university, which is financially prohibitive. The above quotes came from the wonderful speakers at our AGM, held 31 March 2021.
This issue directly impacts many refugees in our community. You can read more about it here. Recent media attention shows the importance of this issue, and that it’s time to approach media and government and ensure something is done.
- ‘A life in limbo’, ABC News, 7 March 2021
- ”Incredibly onerous’: refugees lured by hope of a visa that’s near-impossible to secure’, The New Daily, 7 March 2021
- ‘Scholarship helped refugee Parastoo Bahrami fulfill education dream’, ABC News, 11 March 2021
Education is the key to transforming people’s lives in a myriad of ways. When education opportunities are denied, it means many refugees remain in limbo. They cannot contribute to society in meaningful ways that reflect their competencies and capacities.
We want you to be involved in our education campaign. Email us at email@example.com and let us know you want to stay informed about any updates. We are taking our first steps and will have exciting news soon.
Final Departure Bridging Visas
In September 2020, people in community detention in Australia started receiving letters from the government, saying they had three weeks to find new accommodation and jobs under their new Final Departure Bridging Visas. These were people who had arrived from Manus and Nauru, not on Medevac but still due to health concerns, in 2013 and 2014. Their visas meant they were not allowed to work, or attend tertiary education. Finding a job after seven years out of the workforce is hard enough, but they were also trying to do so during Australia’s greatest recession.
In SA alone, there are 58 individuals, including 17 children under 15 years of age, and fears this number will rise.
There has been a remarkable response from the SA sector and community, with thousands raised for bond, rental payments, and ongoing expenses for these individuals, as well as support finding employment. We are so grateful for everyone who has been involved in donating time, money or resources to assist people who are at a real risk of becoming homeless. Unfortunately the sector is once again acting in place of the government, which has offered some preliminary support but needs to be doing more.
We’ve collated some of the available information, media and ways to help here. If there’s anything you’d like added or you have questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- ‘Government program intended to stop farm work exploitation has only 30 certified farms’, The New Daily, 21 November 2020
- ‘Refugees are the canaries in the mine’, Eureka Street, 29 October 2020
- ‘Australia’s treatment of refugees has been brutal, disgusting and cruel for some time now’, The Advertiser (or on our Facebook page), 28 October 2020
- ‘Hundreds of asylum seekers like Rana and her family placed on six-month final departure bridging visas’, ABC News, 27 October 2020
- ‘Fears hundreds of refugees could become homeless’, ABC News, 27 October 2020
- ‘Exclusive: War on refugees moves to final phase onshore’, The Saturday Paper, 23 October 2020
- ‘Latest government decision forces refugee families to rely on local charities’, J4RSA Media Release, 21 October 2020
- ‘Hundreds of refugees are in a ‘horrible’ situation after being told to leave community detention’, SBS News, 20 October 2020
- ‘Removal of Federal support from refugees medically transferred to Australia: what we have learned so far’, Refugee Council of Australia, 23 September 2020
- ‘Information about the final departure Bridging E Visa’, Australian Government
Ways to get involved
- Donate to J4RSA with the description ‘FDVP’ and we’ll put the money toward gaps such as rent, ongoing costs, and bond payments. No amount too small. If you want it to go toward something in particular email email@example.com and let us know.
- Housing opportunities: offer a room or home for someone to stay in. Add your offers for assistance here, details here.
- Write to your MP today, asking for increased support. More info here.
- Donate packing boxes to Bowden, the city or Westbourne Park. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for drop-off locations. Any size is great. Ideally flattened for storage.