COVID-19 situation has left many Asylum Seekers and Refugees without any income or access to healthcare

With COVID 19, many asylum seekers on Bridging visas, like a lot of other people, have lost their jobs.  Bridging visa holders are asylum seekers residing in Australia and waiting for the Government to process their claim for asylum. They are not eligible for either Centrelink or Medicare. Some have been here since 2012, which shows the great inefficiency of this Government and the betrayal of the Labor Government in their lack of processing in a reasonable timeframe. A number of Circles within Circle of Friends Australia, detailed below, are trying to meet the urgent need of these asylum seekers in COIVD 19 times. Any donations you can provide will go directly towards ensuring that people do not become homeless or lack basic necessities.

The Rapid Response for Refugees Circle (Circle 110), assists people who have been referred by Social Support Organisations in South Australia, particularly Red Cross and STTARS. Funding for this circle from from the Fundraising initiatives of other Circles and from individual donations. Red Cross has recently received a $7 million Australia wide grant from the Federal Government to support all Temporary visa holders, which includes international students, temporary migrant workers and asylum seekers. It won’t be enough. Going home is not an option for asylum seekers. Circle 110 is rapidly going through its available money as the current need is so great. Trish Dundon who convenes this Circle has written an update which you can read in our news section.

For many years Catherine Russell, (Circle 124), has tirelessly been supporting people who were transferred to Adelaide from Nauru and Manus by the Australian Government and asylum seekers on Bridging visas. As part of this she has been visiting and supporting asylum seekers in the immigration detention facility in Kilburn and in community detention.  In the wake of COVID 19, Catherine along with Libby Hogarth, have been ringing people in Adelaide to find out how they are and compiled a database of 200 families and individuals, recording their situation and needs.  Many now have no income. Catherine is gratefully receiving donations via our secure Give Now account so she can distribute food, rent, mobile phone payments, car registration, pharmacy bills etc as needed to the people in need. 

Rachel in Broadview is organising the distribution of food to people in need. She has a Facebook page ‘Adelaide Asylum seeker COVID19 food and essentials – supporter group’ through which she is taking donations to distribute to people.   Financial donations for this food support initiative can made via our secure Give Now account with the reference of Circle 122.

The Blackwood and Hills Circle of Friends (Circle 7) is supporting students on Shev visas who have scholarships at Adelaide University. Some have lost part-time jobs and so now need greater help. Circle 7 is also a major contributor to Circle 110. Due to Covid-19 restrictions Circle 7 is unable to undertake its usual fundraising events. Email appeals like this are all that we can do in terms of fundraising at the moment.

A new Circle, Circle 121, was recently set up in response to the lack of funds from St Vincent de Paul to assist asylum seekers in the Refugee Support Centre. They are raising money to help people directly.

Welcome Australia is also packing up food for people to pick up. They are working on a plan to deliver food.

You can help support some of the people left without Government support in wake of COVID 19 by donating to Circles of Friends Australia via our secure Give Now account. Or to make a direct deposit into our bank account contact us for bank details.

All donations over $2 are tax-deductible. Please include a reference to the Circle you would like money to be directed to. This reference is important. It ensures your donation goes to the Circle of your choice.

Thank you for your contributions
Monica O’Wheel, Chair Circle of Friends Co-ordinating Committee


  1. […] sites, such as Rural Australians for Refugees and Australian Refugee Action Network, as well as our previous news updates explain how refugees and asylum seekers are facing such dire situations. Circle 110’s role is to […]

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