Temporary Protection Visa Policy
7 July 2003 at 1:07 pm
A report by researchers at RMIT University has for the first time provided an insight into the experiences, wellbeing and prospects of refugees living on Temporary Protection Visas (TPVs).
The ‘Temporary Protection, Permanent Uncertainty’ report, which is the largest study of its kind to be published in Australia, provides a comprehensive snapshot of the experiences of TPV holders, who have been living in the community now for more than two years.
The report looks at the barriers to resettlement and considers some of the strategies for addressing these issues.
The report’s author, Dr Greg Marston from the Centre for Applied Social Research at RMIT University, found many refugees on TPVs expected their release from detention centres to deliver freedom. However they experienced continuing despair, depression and deep uncertainty.
Dr. Marston says the research findings directly implicate the TPV policy in the mental suffering and material disadvantage of refugees currently living in Australia.
He says the study found family separation was a primary cause of major distress for refugees on TPVs, as was having no permanent or certain place to live. The research shows the TPV policy is experienced by refugees as a form of ‘secondary detention’.
The research found TPVs a significant barrier to gaining employment, with many encountering significant discrimination from employers and landlords in the private rental market. The study also relayed the difficulties TPV holders had accessing affordable and culturally appropriate health care services.
Refugees involved in the study called on the Commonwealth Government to abolish the TPV policy and offer them permanent protection.
The research project received funding from The Salvation Army, World Vision Australia, St Vincent de Paul Society, Employment Plus, Melbourne City Mission and North Yarra Community Health.
John Dalziel, Communications Director at the Salvation Army says the report would provide community organisations access to reliable data rather than the anecdotal comments relied on in the past.
He says community organisations are now in a position to plead the case of the people issued with Temporary Protection Visas.
He says the length of time taken to review Temporary Protection Visas is a key factor in the mental health of those waiting for resolution and puts a great burden on welfare organisations that participated in this research.
If you would like a copy of the ‘Temporary Protection, Permanent Uncertainty’ report in PDF format just send us an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.