From Bad to Dire

At this moment, particularly in Adelaide metropolitan areas, many refugees and asylum-seekers in living in South Australia have no income and are unable to meet the basic costs of living – rent, power, water and even food.
Several are families with young children transferred to Adelaide from Nauru in the past 6 months and living under Community Detention Orders.  They have health care entitlements but no work rights, are forbidden to earn income in any form and may not volunteer without Department of Home Affairs.
Others, who arrived by boat, have access to Medicare but  zero Centrelink income, regardless of their family situation, after a double refusal from the Department to their application for protection.  While legal support is largely provided pro bono and final Appeals to the Federal Circuit Court &/or Federal Court are made, this situation often continues for many months.  Only temporary visas for 3 or 5 year visas are available at best.
People on Bridging Visas have work rights but are often unemployable due to workers  having only temporary visas, poor physical and/or mental health, no car, caring for young children, and/or insufficient English.   They receive Medicare and 89% of Special Benefit – about $35 per day for a single adult with no children.
A Safe Haven Enterprise Visa (SHEV) allows up to 5 years to work, study or both in a designated geographical area.   Holders can access Centrelink between jobs, but if they accept benefits for more than 18 months they forfeit the right to an avenue for a more substantive visa.  The payment stops immediately when full-time study is undertaken leaving holders with no income on which to actually live.  Employers may be reluctant to take on staff who may be only here short term; some seeking work are unemployable for reasons of health, access to transport, English language and skill limitations.
Temporary Protection Visas, a Refugee or Humanitarian Visa also provide 89% of Centrelink Benefits.  Adult children sponsored by family members on Humanitarian visas for Family Reunion receive no Centrelink payments for two years. If the applicant for family reunion unexpectedly falls ill and is unable to work, the extended family is suddenly in a dire situation with a single Centrelink income to provide for many more people.
Many people seeking help from COFA  have been battling for protection for 5 – 8 years and have run out of options and frequently have no savings to call upon.  Circles 110 (Rapid Response), Blackwood/Hills and Willunga are under particular pressure to provide assistance.  Almost every week workers at STTARS (Survivors of  Torture and Trauma Assistance & Rehabilitation Service),  Red Cross and similar Services, seek help for people who have no money and need financial support, sometimes for months until their situation is resolved.
You can help support vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers by making a donation to Circle of Friends via our secure GiveNow webpage. Alternatively if you would like to do a EFT Transfer email us for our bank details.