The Gillard government’s “No Advantage” policy and stopping families of refugees being reunited under the split family humanitarian visa category:
The government has implemented this policy after the Houston panel report (http://riserefugee.org/post/44741347237/exposed-refugee-expert-panel-recommendations) recommended that refugees who came by boat should not be allowed to apply to bring their immediate family to Australia through the split family humanitarian visa category to stop people coming by boat.
This policy has had a significantly detrimental effect on the well-being of, in particularly disabled members on protection visas.
* The criteria that is used to grant a carer visa has tightened and has become more restrictive; our advocacy team was advised by two different migration agents that it can take about 15 years for a visa to be approved due to this.
* Many of the disabled members (for example with severe back injuries from torture) are unable to find steady work and cannot afford to pay the application fee to DIAC (over $3000) let alone a migration agent to apply for family sponsorship and cannot demonstrate that they have steady income to support their families (part of the criteria needed to be fullfilled in this visa category).
The cruel irony is that many of our members who are unable to cope due to the additional stress of not having their families to support them are referred to Foundation house one of the only available torture trauma counselling centres in Melbourne for counselling; the CEO of Foundation house, Mr. Paris Aristotle AM, was one of the “experts” on the panel who shamelessly made this recommendation to the government. This brings to full circle, the inhumane cycle of dependency and exploitation of our community by the so called “humanitarian” Refugee industry.