6 May 2019
May 2019 eNews – What’s New? Two distinguished guests and an impending election
This month, our volunteer board is finalising the details of our Annual Refugee Week Dinner on 17 June and we can’t wait to send you an invite. Coming soon!
In the meantime, two distinguished guests feature in this newsletter. Professor Alexander Reilly, Director of the Public Law and Policy Research Unit at the Adelaide Law School talks about how your vote can impact refugee issues this election. We also hear from our very own Migration agent, Edel Arvin Chang and his mission for RASSA.
The 2019 Election and Humanitarian Protection
by Professor Alexander Reilly
Although refugee policy has not featured strongly in the election campaign, there are important differences between the major parties in this policy space.
There has always been a clear difference between the parties in relation to granting temporary protection visas (TPVs). Depending on who is elected , NGOs working in this space, including RASSA, will no doubt be making strong representations to the government to grant all TPV and Save Haven Enterprise Visa (SHEV) holders permanent protection visas. This is of great importance, as this will mean that the differential rights of TPV and SHEV holders will also be removed, and with security of residence, they will be in a much stronger position to establish a life in Australia.
When voting on the Medevac Bill in January, it was encouraging to see some deviation, at least partially, from the hardline policy on asylum seekers arriving by boat that has been the policy approach of both major parties since 2013. The resettling of refugees on Nauru and Manus is long overdue for obvious human rights reasons, and as I have argued elsewhere, https://theconversation.com/how-the-next-australian-government-can-balance-security-and-compassion-for-asylum-seekers-110713, does not risk increasing the number of boats making the dangerous journey from Java to Christmas Island, as long as the threat of boat turn backs and off shore detention remains in place.
In my opinion, this election is crucially important for the refugee community and I would encourage people to consider the refugee policies of all parties before voting on May 18.
Alex Reilly, Professor of Law, and co-Director of the Public Law and Policy Research Unit, University of Adelaide
Introducing Arvin, RASSA’s star employee
At RASSA we are small but we are mighty, so we are proud to introduce our sole but awesome employee to you! Here’s a little Q&A with Registered Migration Agent, Project Coordinator, Volunteer Supervisor, Man of Many Talents and of Good Heart, Edel Arvin Chang.
Arvin, tell us about your role?
As migration agent and project coordinator for RASSA, I’m here to help asylum seekers by preparing their legal submissions before the Immigration Assessment Authority when their TPV or SHEV application has been refused by the Department of Home Affairs. These submissions are extensive, complex and often require hours of difficult work for the applicants. I also assist refugees with their visa interview by guiding them through the process, accompanying them and preparing a post interview submission. I ensure that we comply with relevant policies and codes of conduct in our dealings with file management. I supervise student volunteers and collaborate with other organisations (Life without borders, AMRC, etc.) to achieve the best outcomes for refugees.
What is the most rewarding part of your role?
The most rewarding part of my role is when we get a successful outcome and I get to communicate this to our client. It’s life changing for them, quite an emotional experience.
The most difficult/challenging?
More and more of the refugees we help develop severe vulnerabilities and mental health concerns. The struggles they face can be heartbreaking even for me but my role is to remain focused on how I can help: articulating clearly and strategically what we need to do to put them in a position to succeed.
Describe yourself in 5 words
Respect others, honesty, integrity, competence.
What do you love doing outside of work?
I have a four year old who keeps us busy! Whether it’s teaching him how to swim or learn how to ride the bike, learning how to write and read. He goes to reception next year, the big boy!
What are you passionate about?
I hope someday, consumers refrain from using plastics and other related materials, as it hurts the environment.
5 April 2019
SAVE THE DATE
Stand up #WithRefugees and join us on Monday 17 June for RASSA’s annual Refugee Week Dinner.
Together we will celebrate the immense courage, resilience and valuable contributions made by refugees to Australian society. More details to come soon, so mark your calendars!
YOU CAN HELP REFUGEES, RIGHT HERE IN ADELAIDE
Does the worldwide refugee crisis leave you feeling powerless and gutted?
Did you know there are refugees living near you, here in Adelaide – people who struggle everyday but that we can help in meaningful, tangible ways?
This is the story of one of our clients. We recently provided Hanna with pro bono migration assistance. We have changed her name to protect her identity and chance at protection.
Hanna is from Afghanistan. She has experienced severe physical and psychological trauma in her birth country. Since she has arrived in peaceful Adelaide seeking asylum, she’s trying to build a new life for herself. She is struggling to find employment due to her age and her limited English. Her daughter has been missing for six years now and despite her relentless efforts to find her, she has had no success. It is no surprise that Hanna suffers from a severe mental health condition.
Hanna is one of the group of people seeking asylum who cannot access permanent protection. Hanna is living in permanent uncertainty. She has been a temporary protection visa holder for years now, reapplying every three years. It’s one day at the time for Hanna.
RASSA’s role is to help Hanna with her statement of claims and lodging her application. We also offer a translation service to enable her to express herself properly and we explain her legal rights. When faced with extreme financial hardship, as in Hanna’s case, RASSA also pays the visa application fee on our client’s behalf. If you’d like to help refugees like Hanna, a donation of $35 will fund the lodging fee for one application. That’s one very concrete way to make a difference! Please donate today.
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