Visa Cut Angers Refugee Activists

Kirsty Needham, The Age, February 1, 2012

Tens of thousands of residents trying to bring persecuted family members to Australia on special humanitarian visas stand almost no chance of success this year, with the program cut to just 750 places.

Only 149 places are left for the next six months, despite a backlog of 20,500 people with family links to Australia, including 12,000 husbands, wives or children seeking resettlement.

The dramatic cut in special humanitarian places, compared with 3000 visas granted last year, and 9000 in 2003, has been linked directly to the increase in boat arrivals by the federal government.

But the Refugee Council of Australia wants the government to scrap its controversial linking of the two programs, whereby each visa granted to a boat arrival causes one place to be lost from the special humanitarian program.

In a submission to a government review of the refugee intake, the council says drastic cuts to the visa class designed to bring close family of refugees to Australia is creating increased “tensions and frustrations” between community groups, and greater hostility towards boat arrivals seen as “taking places” from people trying to sponsor family.

The council has documented separated families facing financial distress, “survivor guilt”, and in some cases resorting to encouraging those left behind in dire circumstances to make the journey by boat.

“If there is no way we can reunite with our family, we have little choice but to help our family come by boat,” said one Burmese refugee living in Bendigo.

An African community leader in NSW said if Australia committed to bring in refugees it should “finish the job”—“We would have fewer cases of people going for counselling if families were here.”

The Immigration Department, in a briefing paper, has warned the special humanitarian program “is facing the greatest pressure since its inception” and this year is “likely to be the smallest program in 30 years”.

The federal government is considering introducing private sponsorship to expand the places available without hitting the federal budget.

Refugee council chief executive Paul Power said few refugee families could afford to bear the full cost.

He said Australia was the only country in the world that limited its humanitarian intake by creating a numerical link with asylum seekers arriving. “It is a peculiarly Australian debate,” he said.

The council’s submission said the significant number of unaccompanied minors who had arrived by boat this year meant applications for family reunion under the humanitarian visa class would skyrocket in coming years and the program had become unviable.


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  • Anonymous

    We should cut the number of new non-white immigrants into the USA similarly-

    to ZERO.

  • I guess they figured out muslims are allowed to lie under the principle of taqiyya, and have been doing so for aslyum. Thats why christians are the persecuted minority but only muslims are coming in on asylum

  • OTOH, Australia does accept a lot of white refugees from South Africa.

  • Anonymous

    Now they’re angry, oh my.

  • Mel

    What frustrates me is that the mainstream community cannot have any open debate about this without being absolutely vilified. Yet the Refugee Council of Australia will keep putting on pressure until they get their own way. They will have a voice not the people who don’t want this. 

    People who support them get the ‘nice person’ tag and look like heroes, regardless of the mess future generations are going to have to live with.

    I cannot even find out what people think anymore because of political correctness so it is almost impossible to ask the average Joe on the street what they think and form a counter argument. 

    I’m asking more and more why we are responsible for the rest of the world’s problems.  We are not letting them take any responsibility for their own decisions.  Make a bad decision, screw your country up – IMMIGRATE TO THE WEST! Once in the West, Multiculturalism will allow you to keep your screwed up belief  system and replicate the problems created by your culture there. How DUMB are we to let this happen!

    • kjh64

      “People who support them get the ‘nice person’ tag and look like heroes, regardless of the mess future generations are going to have to live with.”

      EXACTLY!!! I was making an argument against illegal Mexican immigration here to other Americans or another forum one time. They made me out to be an evil, heartless person.( I mean come on, Mexico has a lot of wealth and is top 3 in the world with natural resources. Their country is a mess because they made it that way.) However, they are the ones who are selfish. Future generations of Americans will have to live with the mess these pro-immigrant types make. It’s very selfish to put strangers, who just want to use you, over your own people and future generations.

      • Mel

        I totally agree. I used to be a flag-waver for Multiculturalism and Diversity so I interacted a lot with various ethnic groups. I found it disillusioning. There was widespread dislike of white Australians and an attitude that they had done us a favour by migrating to our country to supplant us and our culture. 

        Myself I have experienced quite a bit of violence, harassment and discrimination in our Multicultural wonderland, and found none of these do-gooder types have been around to stand up for my rights.  If anything I’ve had to prove that I wasn’t being racist in the first place. 

        I think our migration policies stop a lot of countries being responsible for their domestic decisions. I read an article about how high the birth rate was in the Catholic Phillipines. This country feels the religious need to not use birth control yet cannot care for its population.  Their people have no quality of life and flock overseas to either work as domestic workers or just migrate to our countries.  

        Why are we having to provide endless charity for people who overbreed and endlessly make terrible decisions and cry racism when people try to hold them accountable? 

  • Anonymous

    In plain English, Australian elitists want Australia to take in as many third worlders as possible, until that country resembles the USA, the UK of France.
      Simplicity is our best defence.

  • Anonymous

     And I thought Australia might be one of the last bastions of the West not to succumb to this….

  • Anonymous

    The Tower of Babbling madmen that promote multi-culturalism will not stop in their perverted desires to destroy everything that is good.

  • Anonymous

    Tell them to come anyway if you want. Western countries don’t really enforce immigration law to be honest. We’ve got 20,000,000 illegals wandering our country as living proof of that.