The strength of the Nadesalingam family, the tireless work of the local community, Carina Ford Lawyers and #HometoBilo campaign will see Nades and Priya, and their daughters Kopika and Tharnicaa return to their home in Biloela, Queensland. However, the Nadesalingam family have not received permanent protection and have instead been granted temporary bridging visas.
The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) welcomes the announcement from interim Home Affairs Minister Jim Chalmers that the Nadesalingam family will return to Biloela after four years of needless and cruel detention and separation from their community. However, the family and the thousands of people who are subjected to arbitrary and cruel policies of a broken asylum regime need permanent protection.
There are 31,000 people who collectively came to be known as the ‘Legacy Caseload’ who all need permanent protection. This group includes people who sought asylum by sea between August 2012 and December 2013, people who sought asylum by sea before this period but did not have their applications for protection finalised and the children born to the families in this cohort.
The Albanese Government has rightfully promised to provide permanent protection to the 19,000 people as part of this ‘Legacy Caseload’ held on Temporary Protection visas (TPVs) and Safe Haven Enterprise visas (SHEVs), as well as end the broken ‘Fast Track’ system under which people were processed, where over 2,000 people after a decade are still waiting to be processed.
However, the Australian Labor Party has not committed to providing a pathway to permanency for the over 9,500 people rejected under this broken process, which the party itself wants to abolish. Instead of being able to rebuild their lives in a loving community, people are kept on punitive temporary bridging visas with no access to mainstream social support and limited access to work, education and Medicare.
The introduction of ‘Fast Track’ was intended to give people less time to make their claims for protection as well as reduce the level of independent oversight, with no minimum standards of procedural fairness and lack of legal representation.
The ASRC also urges the Albanese Government to extend family reunification to all and stop the deprioritising that occurred under the previous government for those who sought asylum by sea.
Mohammad Daghagheleh human rights activist and student, currently on a SHEV, said: “We cannot rebuild our lives on temporary visas, we need to have permanent visas urgently.”
“Family is the only remaining hope thousands of refugees have. While the refugee community is filled with joy, that the newly elected government has allowed the Nadesalingam family to return home united, thousands are left behind and there is still no permanent protection.’’
“As a nation, we need to ensure that all mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers are able to reunite with loved ones. Because the hardest suffering that one can endure is true separation. Let the reuniting of the Nadesalingam family at their home pave a path for policy reform to halt the cruel policies of the past 10 years.’’
Jana Favero, Director of Advocacy and Campaigns at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, said: “It’s great news that Nades, Priya, Kopika and Tharnicaa finally are going home. But the fight isn’t over. They have been granted bridging visas, not permanent protection. Meaning the limbo and uncertainty continues.”
“Four years ago, the Nadesalingam family were ripped from their home in Biloela, forced into detention, uncertainty and separated from their community. The treatment of this family shows the entire asylum system is not viable and must be overhauled.”
“The Albanese Government is responding to calls from the public for a more humane and compassionate asylum policy. Allowing the Nadesalingam family to return home, providing permanent protection to people on TPV/SHEV and ending the ‘Fast-Track’ process are all signs of this. But more needs to be done. People need permanent protection to put an end to the limbo and harm after 10 years living in our community. There are nearly 10,000 people in an almost identical situation to the Nadesalingam family who have no certainty.”
Image supplied by ASRC