State of the Nation 2017: Refugees and people seeking asylum in Australia

The world is in the midst of an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. Yet Australia’s approach in recent years has been to punish people seeking asylum, while increasing the numbers of refugees it resettles. This contrasting approach threatens the long and proud history Australia has of successful integration of refugee communities. This report reflects what we have heard from refugees and people seeking asylum, and the people supporting them
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Visitors’ access to people in detention

In recent months, the Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) has increasingly heard from these visitors that security conditions in immigration detention facilities are being ratcheted up and it is now more difficult to visit people in immigration detention. Correspondingly, people in immigration detention are increasingly isolated from the wider community, negatively impacting their mental and physical wellbeing. As a result, we have started a national study to explore those concerns further. The focus of this research is on access to people in onshore immigration detention facilities.
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Addressing the pain of separation for refugee families

Our new report summarises both the continuing and new concerns expressed to the Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) during our annual national consultations and other discussions with service providers and refugee community members. It proposes alternatives for positive reforms that will benefit those seeking protection in Australia and the humanitarian arrivals and ultimately enhance the outcomes for our entire community.
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Briefing on lifetime visa ban

The Migration Legislation Amendment (Regional Processing Cohort) Bill 2016 was introduced into Parliament on 8 November 2016 and passed the House of Representatives on 10 November 2016. It is now before the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee, which is accepting submissions until 14 November 2016 and is due to report on 22 November 2016. This briefing explains the Bill and our key concerns with the Bill. Who does the Bill affect (‘the cohort’)? This Bill affects anyone who was taken by the Australian Government to Nauru or Manus Island after 19 July 2013, if they were an adult at the time they were first taken there. It also applies to people intercepted on the seas by the Australian Government and transferred to Nauru or Manus Island. The Bill affects those people now living in Australia who have been transferred from Nauru or Manus Island back to Australia, for medical or other reasons. The Bill does not affect: people seeking…

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Thinking Beyond Offshore Processing: Key Recommendations From The Refugee Council Of Australia

Thinking Beyond Offshore Processing: Key recommendations from the Refugee Council of Australia

This paper explains our views on the path beyond offshore processing, bringing together existing recommendations in some of our key reports, including: Australia’s response to a world in crisis (March 2016, ‘Australia’s response’), Eroding our identity as a generous nation: Community views on Australia’s treatment of people seeking asylum (December 2015, ‘Eroding our identity’) and Improving Refugee Protection in Asia-Pacific: How Australia can make a practical difference (July 2015, ‘Improving refugee protection’).
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Recent changes in Australian refugee policy

Recent years have seen numerous changes to Australia’s refugee and asylum seeker policies, largely as a political response to an increase in the number of asylum seekers arriving in Australia by boat (51,637 arrivals in the five years to December 2013) and a consequent increase in deaths at sea between Indonesia and Australia (at least 862 deaths recorded over the same period).[1] Both of Australia’s major political parties have attempted to address this issue through deterrence-based policies which block access to protection in Australia and impose penalties on people who arrive by boat. This document summarises some of the more recent policy changes. Download PDF Refugee and Humanitarian Program During the 2012-13 financial year,[2] the size of Australia’s Refugee and Humanitarian program was increased from 13,750 to 20,000 places, divided between offshore resettlement and onshore protection. This was the largest increase to the program in 30 years and resulted in an 87% rise in the number of offshore resettlement visas…

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Education barriers facing South Sudanese refugees in Australia

At the Refugee Communities Advocacy Network conference in Melbourne on 28 May 2016,  Gabriel Yak (PhD Student, Canberra University) presented an important paper outlining the barriers that South Sudanese refugee communities face in education. The paper covers: Importance of education in integration of refugees Inadequate English language program Age issues and school placement Lack of information by schools support from parents High unemployment is a deterrence to learning Gender barriers – women experiencing difficulties schooling Learn more about the Refugee Communities Advocacy Network.

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Election 2016: What the parties say about refugee policy

This briefing provides an overview of the public positions on refugee issues of the three most influential political parties in Australian politics –the Liberal-National Coalition, the Australian Labor Party, and the Australian Greens. The briefing includes their proposed policies and the public positions taken on major legislation introduced in the past Parliament. The Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) does not endorse any of these parties but provides this information to enable voters to evaluate each party’s position. Click here to download PDF

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Policy brief: reuniting refugee families

Refugee communities in Australia have consistently nominated family reunion and challenges they face in reuniting with their families as a primary issue of concern. During successive annual consultations conducted by Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA), refugee community members highlighted the devastating psychological, economic and social impacts of family separation. Common feedback provided to RCOA has been that the physical security offered by Australia is offset by the ongoing mental anguish of family separation. The barriers to family reunion – protracted delays in processing applications, compounded by lack of information and legal advice; high costs; and limitations to eligibility for family reunion – have remained dispiritingly consistent. A more recent barrier is the effective denial of family reunion to those who arrived by boat. In the past, the main avenue through which people from refugee backgrounds typically sought to reunite with family members was the split family provisions of the Refugee Program or the Special Humanitarian Program (SHP). The high demand…

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