On 13 February, Immigration Minister the Hon Andrew Giles MP and Minister for Home Affairs the Hon Clare O’Neil MP announced that refugees who have a Temporary Protection Visa (TPV) or Safe Haven Enterprise Visa (SHEV) will be able to apply for a permanent Resolution of Status (RoS) visa. This is a greatly welcomed announcement for 20,000 people on temporary visas who have been living in limbo with much anxiety and uncertainty about their future.
Currently, people who have a TPV have to reapply for protection every 3 years and people who have a SHEV must reapply for protection every 5 years.
Once granted a permanent RoS visa, it is possible to:
- live, work and study in Australia permanently
- access benefits from Services Australia and Medicare
- Access short term counselling for torture and trauma
- sponsor eligible family members for permanent residency via the family stream
- if eligible, become an Australian citizen and
- if eligible, attend English language classes for free.
Whilst this brings much relief, there was no solution offered to people who arrived in Australia by boat but had their asylum claims rejected under the flawed ‘fast track process’.