The Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law at UNSW Sydney welcomes today’s announcement that people on temporary protection visas will now have a pathway to permanency in Australia. For the past decade, 20,000 people on temporary visas have been living in limbo, unable to rebuild their lives with any sense of security or durability.
‘We thank the government for this long-awaited change’, said Centre Director Professor Jane McAdam AO. ‘Temporary protection visas have compounded people’s anxiety, augmenting the distress experienced by those who have fled persecution and other human rights violations. Being separated from family has been a particularly cruel element of Australia’s temporary protection regime and we are pleased that people will now have a pathway to reunite with family members.’
The announcement means that people who have been granted Temporary Protection Visas (TPVs) and Safe Haven Enterprise Visas (SHEVs) will have access to permanent protection in Australia through the grant of a Resolution of Status Visa.
This follows recommendations made by the Kaldor Centre in a policy brief last year, which set out detailed proposals for transitioning different cohorts of asylum seekers on to permanent visas. It described temporary protection as ‘an inhumane, unsustainable, and inefficient system that inflicts mental harm and creates costly, bureaucratic burdens.’
Furthermore, it noted that:
temporary protection is inconsistent with Australia’s obligations under international refugee and human rights law. Intended to deter people from entering Australia in irregular or unauthorised ways, it discriminates against people on the mode of their arrival and denies access to family reunion. Australia’s approach to temporary protection is also an aberration from international practice. In other countries, temporary protection has generally been conceived as an exceptional, emergency, and time-bound measure.
The human impact of temporary protection was brought to life in the Centre’s award-winning storytelling series, Temporary. Co-created with UNSW’s Centre for Ideas and Guardian Australia, it featured the voices and stories of those directly affected by Australia’s temporary protection regime, offering an intimate understanding of the personal impacts of the policy.
Regrettably, today’s announcement does not provide solutions for those people who arrived in Australia by boat but had their asylum claims rejected under the flawed ‘fast track process’. Significant concerns remain for the several thousand people in this situation, who remain in limbo and have little recourse for appeal. The Centre’s policy brief recommended that people in this cohort also be granted a pathway to permanency in Australia.
If you hold a Temporary Protection Visa or Safe Have Enterprise Visa and need further information about the process, please see: