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.
- Latest Government decision forces refugee families to rely on charities, 21 October 2020
- Migration amendment will cut vital lifeline for most disadvantaged, 18 September 2020
- Justice for Refugees SA joins call on PM to ensure #NobodyLeftBehind during COVID-19, 11 May 2020
- Home affairs minister Dutton 'malicious and inhumane', 21 June 2019
Join us at St John's Church in the city for an afternoon of music. All details and tickets can be viewed at the link: https://pianoquartetj4rsa.eventbrite.com
St John's Church,
379 Halifax Street, Adelaide
2.30–4 pm, Sunday 15 November
We look forward to seeing you there!
Human Rights Law Centre (Victoria) Senate Submission:
Post-Federal Election - Know more about the issues and policies
Be part of the solution
- Read J4RSA’s Fact Sheet to know what’s really happening
- Consider J4RSA’s Scorecard to embrace a practical and humane policy alternative
- Check out the Refugee Council of Australia’s “I choose humane”
- Lobby local Federal Members of Parliament to recognize that most informed Australians have a compassionate and caring attitude toward refugees and that Government policy should reflect this widespread view
- Change the conversation among friends and family to raise awareness of the realities behind Australia’s treatment of people seeking asylum and refugees
- Become a supporter-member of Justice for Refugees
Justice for Refugees SA seeks to educate South Australians on issues around refugees and asylum seekers
If you're wanting to start a conversation with a friend or family member about refugees and the need to change policy here are some resources that could be of interest:
- Our Stories has worked in collaboration with refugees to create four interactive stories. Go through David's here
- Watch a video and read about 'Surviving the Ocean of Depression', created in collaboration with Dulwich Centre here
- Across Land and Sea: Muzafar's true story of leaving Afghanistan in search of a better life in Australia. Explore his story here
There are also some interesting statistics about the economic cost of offshore detention in comparison to living in the community on a bridging visa on the Kaldor Centre's website:
- $400,000 a year to hold an asylum seeker in offshore detention
- $239,000 to hold them in detention in Australia
- Less than $100,000 for an asylum seeker to live in community detention
- Around $40,000 for an asylum seeker to live in the community on a bridging visa while their claim is processed
Around the world, more say immigrants are a strength than a burden. Chart showing that half or more in many destination countries view immigrants as a strength rather than a burden. In 10 of the countries surveyed, majorities view immigrants as a strength rather than a burden. Among them are some of the largest migrant receiving countries in the world: the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Canada and Australia (each hosting more than 7 million immigrants in 2017).
Learn more about refugees and asylum seekers
- Words that work (Asylum Seeker Resource Centre)
- There are alternatives: a handbook for preventing unnecessary immigration detention (Dr Robyn Sampson)
- Australia's Asylum Policies (Refugee Council)
- Nauru: The Facts (Refugee Council)
- A visit to Manus (Asylum Seeker Resource Centre)
- How cuts to support for people seeking asylum will affect people, states and local communities (Refugee Council)
- Online courses with Amnesty
For schools and teachers
Resources aimed at students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
- English as an additional language or dialect program (education.sa.gov)
- English Language Resources (Australian Refugee Association)
- Teaching Refugees with Limited Formal Education
- Inclusive Teaching for Refugee Students
Resources for Refugee Awareness in Schools
Hear the stories
- Chasing Asylum (Eva Orner, Harper Collins, 2016)
- The Undesirables: Inside Nauru (Mark Isaacs, Hardie Grant Books 2017)
- Asylum by Boat: Origins of Australia’s refugee policy (Claire Higgins, UNSW Press 2017)
- Offshore (Madeline Gleeson, UNSW Press, 2016)
- What is a refugee? (William Maley, Scribe Publications, 2016)
- Across the Seas: Australia’s Response to Refugees: a History (Klaus Neumann, Black Inc Books, 2015)
- Not Quite Australian: How Temporary Migration is Changing the Nation (Peter Mares, Text Publishing, 2016)
- Refugees: Why Seeking Asylum is Legal and Australia’s Policies are Not (Jane McAdam and Fiona Chong, New South Books, 2014)
- The People Smuggler: The True Story of Ali Jenabi (Robin de Crespigny, Penguin Books, 2012)
- Human Rights Overboard: Seeking Asylum in Australia (Linda Briskman, Susie Latham and Chris Goddard, Scribe Publications, 2008)
- Tampering with Asylum: A Universal Humanitarian Problem (Frank Brennan, Penguin Books, 2003)
- Borderline: Australia’s Treatment of Refugees and Asylum Seekers in the Wake of Tampa (Peter Mares, University of New South Wales Press, 2002
- Support Aziz to speak out about life on Manus (Amnesty International)
- Community awareness raising, films, etc. on the Rural Australians for Refugees Calendar
- Love Makes a Way, a Christian interdenominational group concerned about the treatment of those seeking asylum. Members from this group have created a LMAW Music video, 5 years too long which highlights our treatment of those seeking asylum. See also the power-point LMAW slide show 2019 that includes case studies of those seeking asylum. The slide show has been created for church groups but can be adapted to suit particular needs.
- Chauka, Please Tell Us the Time (2017)
Directed by Behrouz Boochani and Arash Kamali Sarvestani
Behrouz Boochani, a journalist who was persecuted for his journalism in Iran, was forced into hiding and fled Iran in 2013. He was intercepted by Australian authorities while attempting a boat crossing from Indonesia to Australia and incarcerated in the Manus Island detention centre. Chauka, Please Tell Us the Time was shot by Boochani from inside the Manus Island detention centre in Papua New Guinea.
- Chasing Asylum (2016)
Directed by Eva Orner
Chasing Asylum features never-before-seen footage from inside Australia’s offshore detention camps, revealing the personal impact of sending those in search of a safe home to languish in limbo. Chasing Asylum explores the mental, physical and fiscal consequences of Australia’s decision to lock away families in unsanitary conditions hidden from media scrutiny—destroying their lives under the pretext of saving them.
- Cast from the Storm (2016)
Directed by David Mason
Cast from the Storm is an award-winning Australian documentary that tells a tender story of transformation, acceptance and belonging.
- Freedom Stories (2015)
Directed by Steve Thomas
Freedom Stories is a documentary-based project that brings together a collection of personal stories from former asylum seekers who sought asylum in Australia at a time of great political turmoil circa 2001, but who have long since dropped out of the media spotlight.
- When Mary Met Mohammad (2013)
Directed by Heather Kirkpatrick
This film features Tasmania’s first detention centre through the eyes of local Christian woman and knitting club member, Mary, and Muslim-Afghan Hazara asylum seeker, Mohammad, who is detained inside the centre, as they connect through the gift of a knitted beanie.
- Between the Devil & the Deep Blue Sea (2013)
Directed by Jessie Taylor
When she was 9 years old, Zainab’s parents made the heartbreaking decision to leave their home in northern Afghanistan. They set out on a journey across the globe, putting the fate of their family in the hands of strangers.
- Leaky Boats (2011)
Directed by Victoria Midwinter-Pitt
Leaky Boats is a moving documentary about how the Australian Government used the refugee boats as a mechanism to boost its standing in the polls during the election to clinch a victory.
Annual General Meetings (AGMs)
Justice for Refugees SA holds its AGM in November each year.
Get the latest:
- President’s Report
- Financial Report
- AGM address by The Hon Catherine Branson: Empathy and Logic – why are they both missing from the asylum seeker debate?