A Rohingya Muslim, Mr Hussain was escaping the atrocities inflicted upon his ethnic group in Myanmar in 2013 with his wife, two daughters and one son.
A Rohingya Muslim who escaped Myanmar in 2013, Hussain Hussain hasn’t seen his family for nine years due to the travel restrictions on his Australian visa. Credit: Akash Arora
But following an unpredictable series of events, he ended up in Australia, while the rest of his family found themselves in Thailand as refugees.
“Now they’re in their teens and twenties and I haven’t seen them for so long,” Mr Hussain, who has a Safe Haven Enterprise visa (SHEV) and is not allowed to travel overseas, said.
A widespread problem for refugees
Hundreds of refugees like Mr Hussain gathered outside Sydney’s Town Hall on Sunday afternoon to participate in the No-One Left Behind rally organized by grassroots campaign group Refugee Action Coalition.
Sri Lankan Tamil refugee Vinothini Selvarasa delivers a speech at the No-One Left Behind refugee rally in Sydney. Credit: Akash Arora
Vinothini Selvarasa – a Sri Lankan Tamil who escaped war crimes in her country and relocated to Australia in 2009 – was at the rally, too.
“My daughter will soon be old enough to go to TAFE, but I don’t have the money to cover the cost of her education,” Ms Selvarasa told SBS News.,
“There are children who need to go to university next year but because their parents are on TPV or SHEV, they are considered to be foreign students, so they have to pay full fee,” Ms Inpakumar told SBS News.
Words like ‘illegal’ or ‘boat arrivals’ dehumanise refugees
“It’s very hard for them to buy a home, get a job and set down roots in Australia,” she said.
Kalyani Inpakumar is the NSW coordinator for the Tamil Refugee Council. Credit: Akash Arora
“The Albanian Government has made a commitment to transition those who have been found to be owed our protection on temporary protection visas to permanent protection – we will keep this promise, and meet our commitment as soon as possible,” Mr Giles wrote on Twitter and Facebook.
“We’re very happy that they’ve made the announcement that all TPV and SHEV holders will be given permanent protection, but it would be nice to know what the process is going to be and when that will take effect,” she said.
Asylum seekers on bridging visas face worse challenges
He told SBS News there are about 12,000 asylum seekers who are living on bridging visas in Australia, in addition to 19,000 refugees who are on SHEVs or TPVs.
“The bridging visas are often only issued for six months and that [leads to] all the difficulties with jobs, with rental, with Medicare, with schools,” Mr Rintoul said.
Everything for them is even more difficult and more precarious for sure, including income support.
Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition
According to Mr Rintoul, while there’s some light at the end of the tunnel for TPV and SHEV holders thanks to the Federal Government’s promise to grant them permanent visas, there’s nothing in the government’s scheme for asylum seekers in Australia on bridging visas.
“It’s great that they’re talking about the TPVs and SHEVs but the bridging visas is something they still need to address.”