1,000 signatures reached
To: Karen Andrews, Minister for Home Affairs
Permanent visas for all refugees now
The Australian public demands permanent visas for all refugees now.
Refugee communities are at breaking point. For over a decade, the government has forced 30,000 people – your friends, neighbours, co-workers – to endure an endless cycle of temporary visas.
For refugees who exercised their human right to seek safety here, and for children born here, Australia is now our only home. We are highly motivated community members. We work, study, open businesses, pay taxes and contribute to Australian society just like everyone else.
But never knowing whether we can count on staying has meant never knowing whether we will ever be genuinely safe to pursue fulfilling and rewarding lives.
We cannot access all of the health, education, housing and financial support available to permanent residents. These supports would not only afford us basic dignity, but also enable us to aspire to reach our full potential as members of society.
We also have little hope of reuniting with family as we face impossible legal barriers in making that dream a reality.
We call on the government to end the uncertainty and implement:
1. Permanent visas and a pathway to citizenship for all refugees on temporary visas, including TPVs and SHEVs, via a fair and efficient process.
2. Realistic pathways for family reunions.
3. Full access to healthcare, higher education, income support and all other government supports available to all Australians.
Why is this important?
Refugee communities who arrived by boat up to 10 years ago are still generally ineligible for permanent protection. This group must instead rely on temporary protection visas (TPV) or Safe Haven Enterprise Visas (SHEV) and constantly re-apply after every 3 or 5 years respectively.
The differential treatment of refugees by the way we came to Australia to seek safety is not only out of step with the Refugee Convention, but also has life-changing consequences for people for whom Australia is now our only home. It means constant uncertainty about the future, lack of access to essential services and support, and indefinite separation from family not in Australia. These consequences unnecessarily create a cycle of disadvantage and also contribute to higher levels of stress, anxiety and depression.
It’s past time to recognise all refugees as respected members of the community and enable us to fully participate in Australian society.