Updated: Sep 14, 2020
In light of the economic impact of COVID-19 and the subsequent fall in migration, Refugee Voices will be advocating for permanent residency to be offered to refugees and asylum seekers in the legacy caseload, to enable them to continue contributing to critical sectors.
The ‘legacy caseload’ refers to approximately 30,000 asylum seekers living in Australia who arrived by boat between 2012 and 2014. Successive Labor and Coalition governments have implemented legislation prohibiting them from applying for permanent residency in Australia.
Instead, they are limited to applying for a three-year Temporary Protection Visa (TPV) or a five-year Safe Haven Enterprise Visa (SHEV), which they have to periodically re-apply to have renewed.
Permanent migration to Australia has declined from an estimated 270,000 to 34,000 due to COVID-19. People in the legacy caseload who have been in Australia for five years, can take these available visas.
In the midst of this pandemic, many of these asylum seekers are working at the forefront of essential services like agriculture, aged care, disability care and food processing. Yet they are ineligible for any government support and face the added uncertainty of having to reapply for protection every few years.
We believe Australia can’t afford to lose these hard-working people who do the tough jobs. We need these people to help rebuild our economy, as many of them provide a stable backbone in our rural agricultural sectors.