Reverse the Government's Decision to Cut Support for Students Seeking Asylum in Australia

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The purpose of this petition is to reverse the government’s decision to discontinue support for people in Australia who are refugees or who are seeking asylum. Here, the impact on students is given particular emphasis. 

Last year, the Australian federal government declared its intention to terminate status resolution support services (SRSS) for individuals seeking asylum in Australia. As of June this year, the plan has been in operation.

The decision is estimated to adversely affect over ten thousand individuals within the Australian community as they anxiously await determination of their refugee status. Whilst primarily affecting individuals on bridging visas, the plan also affects those who have attained a Safe Haven Enterprise Visa (SHEV) and those who have attained a Temporary Protection Visa (TPV).

The implications of the funding cut are significant and far-reaching. SRSS payments previously received by the aforementioned individuals amounted to 89% of the Newstart Allowance. This means that they were able to receive a total of $478 a fortnight – the equivalent of approximately $35 a day for all expenses. The SRSS also provided case management support, assistance in locating suitable housing, and access to trauma and torture counselling services. As of June, however, assessment changes to these services have ensured that those who are classified as being capable of working will be ineligible for the services.

The harsh reality of the changes is that students with asylum seeker status currently attending university will be driven into poverty, forced to abandon their studies, and forced to seek further employment just to ensure their own survival. Those trying to learn English will be forced to abandon their efforts. Those trying to improve their education so that they can make a positive contribution to Australia will be forced to give up. Parents trying to undergo training so that they can support their family by securing a job will be forced to quit. Finding and maintaining employment, furthermore, is no easy task. Many of those seeking asylum have experienced difficulty in securing a job as a result of needing to care for young children, or as a result of ongoing physical and mental health issues. Even more have experienced difficulty in finding a job as a result of them lacking sufficient Australian experience, lacking references, language barriers, or as a result of employers being hesitant to hire someone who holds such a short-term visa.

Many opportunities and many simple things have been and will be abandoned because of the government’s decision. But if you sign this petition, then hope will not be one of them.

Justice can and should be restored so that these individuals can be free to pursue education without fear of losing all else. These people are our friends, our neighbours, our co-workers, and our fellow students. They are part of our community. We must also remember that ours is the land of the ‘Fair Go’. As Australians, it is our duty to do what we can to give these innocent and hardworking people a fair go. As people, it is our duty to help do what is right. By giving them a fair go, we will be doing what is right.

In signing this petition, you agree that the government should reinstate status resolution support services for those who have lost it as a result of the new eligibility requirements. By signing this petition, you are making a difference.

Please forward this petition to as many people as possible so that, together, we can not only seek justice, but achieve it.

Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.