“During my three years in Australia, I feel like I have lost knowledge and haven’t made any progress. I feel like these three years have been lost and all of the years I spent studying in Iran have been spoiled.”
I was born in Iran but was forced to flee to Australia in 2013. Upon arrival, I was detained in a Darwin detention centre for about two months before being released into the community. Since then, I have moved around but I now reside in Melbourne.
In Iran I graduated from University with a Bachelor of Accounting and I started my Masters in Financial Management. Unfortunately, I was forced to leave Iran before I could complete my studies.
Since arriving in Australia I have been told that I am able to pursue higher education. However, if I wish to do so I will have to pay international student fees. As this is very expensive (and I am not allowed to work), it is as though I don’t have the opportunity to study at all. It is as though I am back in Iran where I was also prevented from studying.
When I was in Iran, I proved that when I am given the opportunity to study, I can be successful and can contribute to society. Even with Iran’s limited resources and facilities I was more successful than I am in Australia now. During my three years in Australia, I feel like I have lost knowledge and haven’t made any progress. I feel like these three years have been lost and all of the years I spent studying in Iran have been spoiled.
If I could continue my education, I would like to be a plumber. After four years of study I could work and support myself and be back to my normal life. If I am unable to continue my education, I will be jobless and will lack motivation and progress. In order to thrive and succeed I need access to education.
*Name and image changed to protect identity.
Image credit: Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license
Help people like Amir- Sign our Petition to Education Ministers
Last year, the Refugee Council of Australia released a report detailing the significant financial barriers that people seeking asylum and refugees face in accessing further education. We are writing to urge the Federal, State and Territory Governments to remove these barriers and allow these people to access the same supports as other Australians.
Unlike holders of permanent humanitarian visas, people seeking asylum and refugees on temporary visas are not eligible for programs and concessions designed to assist students with financing tertiary study. Without state, territory or federal support, these people are forced to pay very expensive international student fees to attend TAFE, Universities and other institutions. For people who have spent years without the right to work, receiving only $460 a fortnight, this is not a viable option.
Providing further education can have a profound impact on the lives of individuals and also create further benefits for the wider community, both socially and economically. Denying people the opportunity to gain further education impacts their ability to gain employment and positively contribute to Australia.
We believe that the small upfront costs of providing access to this group of people will be greatly outweighed by the benefits. As such, we ask that the Federal, State and Territory Governments allow all people seeking asylum and refugees on temporary visas equal access to education support.
Refugee Council of Australia