With help from Hazara community members and other Donors, this appeal has been funded. Thank you all who contributed.
In 2017 at the age of 43 an Hazara man from Afghanistan, living in rural South Australia, was diagnosed with late stage colorectal cancer which proved unresponsive to treatment. Early in 2018 clinicians were able to stabilise his illness enough for him to meet his wife and three children in Pakistan. On his return to South Australia and theirs to Afghanistan, they applied for tourist Visas to visit him. These were denied on the grounds they were unlikely to return.
Before a visa for his wife to travel alone was granted he died. This man was in Australia on a temporary protection visa which did not allow him to sponsor his family to join him. As a result he spent the last years of his life in safety but separated from his wife and children. His dying wish as stated in his Will was that his wife would at least be present at his funeral in South Australia. His Hazara community will organise his funeral and host his widow. However they need to raise around $2000 for her air fares. Any contribution will be deeply appreciated. You can make a donation for this appeal via our secure GiveNow webpage. When making your donation please specify that donations are for Circle 115).
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.