Vinnies Refugee and Asylum Seeker Service (formerly the Migrant and Refugee Centre)
The Migrant and Refugee Centre continued its good work supporting migrants and refugees who have fled war, persecution and significant injustice through financial and material assistance. In line with our ‘hand up’ focus, the Centre also provided advocacy support by way of referrals to other agencies, translation services and assistance with housing and immigration information.
People from 37 countries were assisted, with the highest proportion of people coming from Syria, Afghanistan, Iran, India, Bhutan and Nepal. More than 8,000 men, women and children were assisted, and $402,784.46 in assistance was provided. The Migrant and Refugee Centre’s key project, the Vinnies Asylum seeker Assistance Program (VASA), has responded to people seeking asylum whose government payments have been withdrawn, resulting in them receiving no income. For most of these asylum seekers, they are either not permitted to work, or are on short term visas which mean they find it virtually impossible to secure ongoing employment.
Support offered by the Migrant and Refugee Centre is vital to them being able to cover even the most basic of living costs and we are grateful for additional funding received by way of grants from the Daughters of Charity, Catholic Church Insurance, and Sydney Meyer Foundation. During the year a decision was made to transition some companions to conferences for ongoing support. The purpose of this is so that assistance can be provided within their local communities, enhancing their feeling of connectedness and reducing costs and the inconvenience associated with travel. 134 companions were referred to 26 conferences.
We continued to highlight the plight of asylum seekers throughout our networks, and informed a special feature in the Sunday Mail.
What is the service? Free assistance is provided to asylum seekers and refugees on Temporary Protection Visas (TPV) and Safe Haven Enterprise Visas (SHEV). This service is provided by one paid Coordinator and...