CLCs Work with Asylum
Seekers in Australia
Introduction
(May 2010)
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NSW:
◦ Refugee Advice & Casework Service (RACS)
◦ Immigration Advice & Rights Centre (IARC)
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Qld:
◦ Refugee and Immigration Legal Service (RAILS)
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Victoria:
◦ Refugee and Immigration Legal Centre (RILC)
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Western Australia:
◦ Southern Communities Advocacy Legal and
Education Service (SCALES)
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Government contracts – IAAAS
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Donations
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Attorney General/Legal Aid – Public Purpose
Fund
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Grants
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NB - Substantial Pro Bono work
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Immigration Advice & Application Assistance
Scheme (IAAAS) – government scheme
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Organisations tender for an IAAAS contract
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Currently approx 24 contractors in Australia
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Under IAAAS - asylum seekers in the
community & detention eligible for free
assistance from a Contractor’s migration agent.
◦ Community – means tested
◦ Detention – not means tested
Demand greater than resources
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Staffed by Solicitor-Migration Agents
Rely upon Volunteer Solicitor-Migration
Agents
Numerous volunteer Law Students
◦ Conduct research
◦ Provide administrative support
◦ Draft submissions and papers
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Protection Visa (PV) applications
◦ Telephone advice
◦ Face-to-face advice
◦ Representation
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Humanitarian requests to Minister of Immigration -
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Judicial Review (limited)
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Referrals
advice & assistance
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1951 Refugees Convention
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Definition of a refugee, Article 1A(2):
The term "refugee” shall apply to any person who owing to a wellfounded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion,
nationality, membership of a particular social group or political
opinion, is outside the country of his/her nationality and is unable,
or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail him/herself of the
protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and
being outside the country of his/her former habitual residence, is
unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.
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S 36 Migration Act
references the Refugees Convention
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Onshore Asylum Seekers (incl excised zones):
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Asylum Seekers in community
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Asylum seekers in detention:
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Villawood IDC
Christmas Island IDF
Darwin IDF
Port Augusta IDF
Brisbane ITA
Melbourne ITA
Perth IDF; etc
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Afghans
Iraqis
Sri Lankans
Iranians
Chinese
Palestinian
People from most regions of the world
including the African continent, Middle East,
South Asia, North & East Asia, South East
Asia, Eastern Europe, South Americas, Pacific,
etc
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Criteria for assistance –
◦ Means test (IAAAS requirement)
 issues re quality of commercial Migration Agents
◦ Merits test
 Include cases requiring high quality assistance
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Client Conferences;
◦ Trauma of clients
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Statement Preparation;
Country Research;
Legal Research;
Submission drafting;
Attend Department of Immigration IVs;
Attend Refugee Review Tribunal Hearings
etc
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Provide Training & briefings
◦ To solicitors, NGOs, community groups, students, etc
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Policy and advocacy work
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Consultations with DIAC & RRT
Senate Submissions
Policy papers
Sector consultations
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Multi-disciplinary cooperative sector (in
Sydney, Australia & world)
Partnerships with commercial law firms,
academics, NGOs, government, etc
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Referrals
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Service gaps
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Lack of access to women?
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IARC – www.iarc.asn.au
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UNHCR – www.unhcr.org
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RefWorld – www.refworld.org
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Refugee Review Tribunal – www.mrt-rrt.gov.au
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MARA – www.mara.gov.au
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Over 90% our clients found to be refugees
Over 90% our clients on Christmas Island found to be
refugees
In 2009 - 16 million refugees in world
Major refugee-hosting nations in 2008:
◦ Pakistan (1.8 million); Syria (1.1 million); Iran (980,000);
Germany (582,700), Jordan (500,400); Chad (330,500);
Tanzania (321,900); and Kenya (320,600).
Asylum claims lodged in 2009:
◦ Europe - 286,700
◦ USA/Canada - 82,300
◦ Australia/New Zealand - 6,500
There is no ‘queue’ to jump, simply blockages around the world
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CLCs` work with Asylum Seekers & Refugees in Australia