Scott Morrison reintroduces temporary visas for asylum seekers

February 08, 2014

Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Scott Morrison on Wednesday.Refugee groups and the Greens have slammed the decision by Immigration Minister Scott Morrison to reintroduce the ‘temporary humanitarian’ visa. Photo: Steven Siewert

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has quietly reintroduced a ”backdoor” alternative visa arrangement to the controversial temporary protection visa, meaning asylum seekers who arrive in Australia by boat or plane without valid visas will never get permanent residency.

Under the ”Temporary Humanitarian Concern” visa, refugees will not be permitted to apply for family reunions, nor will they be able to settle in Australia.

The move has been widely criticised by human rights groups who describe the visa – which has very similar restrictions as the temporary protection visa that was voted down in the Senate in December –  as cruel and counter-productive.

“For people already traumatised by their refugee journey, living on a temporary humanitarian visa brings uncertainty, unfairness and fear for the safety of family members in dangerous and desperate  circumstances,” said Paul Power, chief executive officer of the Refugee Council of Australia.


”It’s using existing visa sub classes in a way in which they were never intended.”But a fundamental concern lies with the temporary protection itself for people found by Australia to be in need of protection.”

The visa has not been issued in Australia since 2009. It was initially developed in 1999 to allow temporary stay for people fleeing Timor and Kosovo.

It will also retrospectively apply to the 20,000 asylum seekers who have arrived by boat and are waiting on bridging visas.

Mr Morrison has not responded to questions from Fairfax Media on the issue.

Amjad Hussain, a Pakistani journalist who fled Quetta in 2012 and arrived in Australia by boat in the same year, was told on Thursday that he would not be granted permanent protection, instead he would be given a temporary visa.

”I was shocked that I was not granted a protection visa,” he said. ”This is a huge blow. It was a shock to me but also to my wife and my kids.”

Greens Senator and immigration spokesperson Sarah Hanson-Young said the move was a ”sinister subverting of the legal and parliamentary process from a shifty government”.

“This is the government trying to reintroduce temporary protection visas through the back door,” Senator Hanson-Young said.

Giving temporary visas to refugees has been widely criticised by human rights groups for more than a decade.

Under the Howard government, 11,000 people were granted TPVs. Of those, 9500 were later granted permanent protection.

”The Howard government had to face the reality that it is rare for conditions in refugees’ countries of origin to improve quickly – and the Abbott government will face the same reality,” Mr Power said




Filed under Asylum Policy

2 responses to “Scott Morrison reintroduces temporary visas for asylum seekers

  1. Jemma green

    Scott Morrison should be ashamed of himself, introducing these visa’s. it’s inhumane to expect people to live in the community without work rights and only 6 weeks support, particularly for those young people who have turned 18. they are now being told that they have no place in community detention, will only have limited support through the australian Red Cross where they are one of 40 being supported by one case worker and are then to live in the community without any work rights. We are setting these people up to fail!

  2. Mo

    He has to stop people coming to Australia by boat, he has to be hard to do this. No shame involved. Problem really is that genuine asylum seekers are being swamped by economic refugees. There will be no end to the numbers of people wanting to improve their lives, understandable, but Australia has to choose from that group itself.

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