Circle 121

This Circle helps asylum-seekers in SA who are living with no income due to being deemed ineligible by the Federal Department of Home Affairs for any form of social security and either not being able to find work or recently having lost jobs, a situation exacerbated by COVID-19.

Many of these asylum seekers have been in Australia since 2012/2103 but still possess temporary bridging visas only: some have had their refugee claims refused; some are still waiting for a decision; some are following limited avenues for appeal, which can take years. Importantly, the legal process which has led to the decisions to refuse refugee status, together with the limited appeal rights, have been criticised as lacking in natural justice.

It is extremely hard for these people to find work, or sufficient work: they often have poor English, qualifications are unrecognised, re-training is prohibitively expensive, they lack local work experience and contacts, their age can count against them, and some have serious physical/ mental health problems. Possessing only a temporary visa is also a major obstacle.

For those who have found jobs, many are casual workers who have lost their jobs due to COVID19. As already mentioned, they are not eligible for either JobSeeker or JobKeeper (or any other form of social security) and have no ‘back-up’: all live in rental accommodation, have no savings to speak of, and lack an extended family/ network to rely on in hard times.

We provide financial support to these people by providing a modest living allowance, help with rent and utilities, and Foodland vouchers. If no support is provided, these people are at genuine risk of homelessness and destitution.

We also liaise closely with other Circles of Friends and agencies helping asylum seekers in South Australia, in order to maximise our impact on the lives of those in need.

If you would like to make a donation, please email Henrietta Wighton.