What is the Status Resolution Support Services (SRSS) program?
Status Resolution Support Services (SRSS) is the program that supports vulnerable migrants who are waiting for the government’s decision on a visa application, including people seeking asylum.
In July 1992, a program called the Asylum Seekers Assistance Scheme (ASAS) was first established. It was only available to people seeking asylum who had applied for a protection visa, were waiting for their application to be decided, and could not meet their most basic health care and living needs. The program was established because this group were very vulnerable and were not able to access any other form of Government funded support, including social security and Medicare.
In 2005, the Community Care Pilot (later changed to the ‘Community Assistance Support’ or CAS program) was established for people who became vulnerable during their migration journey (including ‘forced migration’) and could not meet their basic needs while waiting for their visa application to be finalised.
In the same year, community detention (now called ‘residence determination’) was also introduced. The Migration Act was changed to give the Minister for Immigration the power to make a ‘residence determination’ for a person in immigration detention. The determination meant the person could leave a detention facility and live in a specified residence in the community. A person in this position is said to be in ‘community detention’.
All these programs are based on policy, and are not included in legislation. Over the years, there have been changes to the name of the program and their eligibility criteria, which has become stricter. The Department of Home Affairs (previously the Department of Immigration) determines the eligibility criteria for the program.
For many years, Australian Red Cross was the sole service provider. However, in recent years (mainly from 2012), the Department of Immigration has contracted more service providers across the country.
The current SRSS program has different levels of support (‘bands’), depending on the circumstances of the person on the program. The former Asylum Seekers Assistance Scheme is now called Band 6. The former Community Assistance Support is now Band 5. Those on Band 5 usually have more complex needs and receive more intensive casework support. The number of people eligible for this support has been reduced significantly in recent years.
Both programs provide a basic living allowance (typically 89% of Newstart allowance), casework support and access to torture and trauma counselling. Recently most people seeking asylum have become eligible for Medicare. For those vulnerable migrants who are not, these programs may cover the healthcare cost in line with Medicare.
Those who are in community detention (now either ‘band 2’ or ‘band 3’ depending on the age and family status of the recipient), are eligible for casework support, limited financial support (less than the ‘band 5’ or ‘band 6’, as the cost of housing is covered by the program) and healthcare support from International Health and Medical Services.
The other SRSS bands are:
- Band 1: support for unaccompanied minors in places of detention
- Band 2: Support for unaccompanied minors in Residence Determination arrangements (‘community detention’)
- Band 3: Support for adults and families in Residence Determination arrangements (‘community detention’)
- Band 4: Transitional support for people leaving immigration detention facilities following the grant of a visa
For more detailed information, you can read the SRSS Operational Manual (version 5, April 2017) which was released under Freedom of Information provisions on 11 January 2018.
Current service providers
The SRSS providers, as of December 2018, are:
New South Wales
- Settlement Services International (SSI) (Street address (head office): 2/158 Liverpool Road, Ashfield; Phone number: (02) 8799 6700)
- Life without Barriers (Street address: Suite 1, Level 1, 81 Railway Street, Rockdale; Phone number: (02) 9508 4000)
- AMES Australia (Street address: 255 William St, Melbourne; Phone number: 13 2637)
- Life without Barriers (Street address: Level 3, 554 Church Street, Richmond; Phone number: (03) 8480 9600)
- Access Community Services (Street address: 92 Wembley Rd, Logan Central; Phone number: (07) 3412 8222)
- Multicultural Development Association (MDA) (Street address: 28 Dibley Street, Woolloongabba; Phone number: (07) 3337 5400)
- Life without Barriers: (Street address: 63 Commercial Road, Salisbury; Phone number: 08 8259 3600)
- CatholicCare Tasmania (Street address: 35 Tower Road, New Town; Phone number: (03) 6278 1660)
- Mercycare (Street address: 38 Ord Street, West Perth; Phone number: (08) 9442 3444)
- Australian Red Cross (Street address: Level 1, 13 Scaturchio St, Casuarina; Phone number: (08) 8924 3960)
Australian Capital Territory
- Life without Barriers