MEDIA RELEASE – 2 FEBRUARY 2023
Kate Chaney calls for urgent resolution for refugees in ongoing limbo
Independent Member for Curtin, Kate Chaney, has joined with refugees to challenge the Albanese Government on their commitment to granting permanent visas for persecuted families.
The Albanese Government came to power almost nine months ago with a promise to abolish Temporary Protection Visas and the similarly short-term Safe Haven Enterprise Visa. The Government also said they would review the controversial “Fast Track” protection claims process for people seeking asylum. Federal Immigration Minister Andrew Giles and Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil have repeatedly pledged to fulfil the promise but claim there are details that need to be worked out first.
For refugees like Nader Hosseini, who have already been waiting up to ten years, the promises have worn thin. Mr Hosseini asks, “How much longer do we have to wait? It has already been too long.”
Mr Hosseini is a tiler in the Perth building industry and a refugee from the Hazara ethnic minority in Afghanistan. He said people in his situation were in increasing despair, saying, “We have fled the Taliban 10 years ago and yet we still cannot be with our families. I have my four children still in danger. The Australian government has agreed that I am a refugee, but they won’t allow me to bring my family here because I only have a temporary visa.”
Mr Hosseini is one of approximately 20,000 refugees living, working and paying tax in Australia who remain stuck on an endless loop of temporary visas. There are a further 11,000 people on bridging visas still awaiting the outcome of their asylum claims through the “Fast Track” process.
Kate Chaney said the time has come for the Albanese Government to come good on its promises. “Thousands of people are still waiting for the promised resolution. This needs to happen now, to give people back their lives and end a decade of uncertainty.
“I urge the Government to fulfil your promise and end the cycle of limbo and suffering for these refugees.”
Associate Professor Caroline Fleay, Co-Director of the Centre for Human Rights Education at Curtin University said, “We are extremely worried there has been no announcement from the Federal Government as yet on how the cases of 31,000 refugees and people seeking asylum subjected to the unfair “Fast Track” process will be resolved.
“The impact of this terrible ongoing uncertainty on refugees and people seeking asylum on temporary visas and their families is profound. Many have had to live through yet another Christmas knowing that while so many of us spent time with our families, they continue to be forced to live apart from their families. And they have had no indication about when this situation will end.”
Mr Hosseini said, “We don’t want any more promises. We need action.”