Refugee Resettlement in Australia 2013


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Refugee Resettlement in Australia 2013

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  2. 2. “ The stories of Asylum seekers are, after all, the stories of us all-parents saving their children, individuals seeking freedom and dignityand the power of the will to survive” (Acting from the Heart, 2007, p.1)
  3. 3.  Asylum seekers are people who flee their country of origin and are unableto return due to a well founded fear of torture and/or persecution. Refugee is the term given to asylum seekers after they have had theirclaims successfully assessed and have undergone a series of checks suchas Health, Security and Character checks before going on to awaitresettlement. Once resettled a person is no longer a
  4. 4.  Resettlement is a voluntary scheme coordinated by the United Nationsrefugee agency (UNHCR). Although there are 145 signatories to the 1951 Refugee Convention, only24 participate in UNHCR’s resettlement programs and accept quotas ofrefugees on an annual basis. Australia has been involved in the UNHCR resettlement program since1977. Refugees do not have a right to be resettled and states are not legallyobligated under the 1951 Refugee Convention or any other internationalinstrument to accept refugees for resettlement. Less than one per cent of the world’s refugees may be resettled in anygiven year (
  5. 5. Who is UNHCR, and what do they do?The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)was established in 1951 under the Convention and Protocol forrefugees.UNHCR is a not-for-profit organisation that provides and co-ordinates international relief for refugees and displaced people,offering them protection and assistance during every stage oftheir ordeals, some include: Refugee registration, assistance and advice on asylumapplications. Providing emergency shelter, food, water and medical care. Striving to improve refugees quality of life and futureopportunities. Providing assistance with transport, documentation andessential items. Providing ongoing support and education after resettlement.Only 3% of UNHCR’s budget comes from the UN. The remaining97% must come from voluntary contributions fromgovernments, corporations, and individual donors.
  6. 6. Australia’s annual quota for refugee resettlement is 20000 a year, of which12000 places are for people referred by UNHCR and 8000 are for the specialhumanitarian program and onshore
  7. 7. Myth FactThere is an orderlyqueue in theresettlement processLess than 0.5% of the world’s refugees have access to anything like aqueue. Research on the refugee experience highlights violence,marginalisation and unpredictability, not an orderly queue and a knownfuture.UNHCR resettlementprograms are adequateto cope with demandOnly around 1% of the world’s refugees are resettled each year. Thereare only 24 signatory nations to UNHCR resettlement programs, and if allthe world’s refugees were to form a queue it would take between 120and 200 years to resettle them at the current rate.Resettlement means theUN can decide who livesin AustraliaThe ultimate decision to grant any visa to Australia rests with theDepartment of Immigration.Australia does its fairshare to help resettlethe world’s refugeesAustralia does consistently rank 3rd in the world for intake of refugeesfor resettlement. However, this figure includes the number of refugeesalready within Australia (having arrived by boat or air) who are thenresettled here.IMA asylum seekerstake up places ofrefugees from overseasThe number of convention (overseas) refugees resettled in Australia isnot affected by IMAs. However, the government has chosen to link thenumber of visas granted to refugees within Australia to the number ofSHP visas available to family members of refugees or persons persecutedand still located within their home countries.
  8. 8.  When refugees arrive in Australia for resettlementthey can immediately access income supportpayments just like any other permanent Australianresident, but they do not receive higher socialsecurity benefits. Humanitarian Settlement Services (HSS) programprovides early practical support, including helpfinding accommodation, initial orientation andbasic household goods packages. HSS clientsgenerally finish the program in 6-12 months. Additional services focus on building self-reliance,developing English language skills and usingmainstream services.
  9. 9.  A literature review by the Refugee Council of Australia (2010) concludedthat while there may be short-term costs as refugees are resettled andadjust to their new surroundings, after successful integration they makepermanent cultural, social and economic contributions. Major findingsinclude: Humanitarian entrants are often entrepreneurial as they establishthemselves in a new environment – in the year 2000, five of Australia’seight billionaires were people whose families had originally come to thecountry as refugees. Their impact has been positive in regional and rural Australia throughproviding labour and stimulating economic growth and service delivery. Available sources point to above average rates of success in educationand employment for children of Humanitarian entrants. Informal volunteering plays an important role in building social capital,and volunteers from ethnic communities provide the greater part of theirservices to benefit society as a whole rather than their own ethnic group.
  10. 10.  Many dynamic, industrious andintelligent people were oncerefugees, including …
  11. 11. Einstein – fled Nazi GermanyBob Marley – fled Jamaica afterbeing shot during political violenceKarl Marx – German refugeeMika – fled from Beirut, LebanonSigmund Freud – fled Nazism in AustriaVictor Hugo – the author of Les Misérableswas forced to flee France several timesDr Karl Kruszelnicki – fled with hisPolish family to Australia at two
  12. 12.  Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, 2012, AsylumSeekers and Refugees: Myths, Facts and Solutions,West Melbourne Department of Immigration, 2012, Fact Sheet 66:Humanitarian Settlement Services Program, ACT Elibritt Karlsen, 2011, Refugee resettlement toAustralia: what are the facts? , ACT Refugee Council of Australia, 2010, Economic, civicand social contributions of refugees andHumanitarian entrants – literature review, ACT
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