Asylum seekers face support cut
THE Turnbull Government is set to cut income support for Australia-based asylum seekers and give them just three weeks to find new homes under a new visa.
Leaked government documents reveal the Department of Immigration and Border Protection will issue a new visa to asylum seekers transferred to Australia from offshore detention for medical reasons, Fairfax reports.
Under the "final departure Bridging E Visa”, income support of about $200 a fortnight will end and asylum seekers will have three weeks to move out of government-supported accommodation.
Veteran Affairs Minister Dan Tehan told Sky News yesterday the government would not allow people to resettle in Australia if they had arrived by boat.
As for those receiving income support, he said: "Until you leave we do not want you continuing to be a burden on our welfare system. You should take up opportunities to seek work.”
According to Fairfax Media, asylum seekers will have work rights under the new visa, but those aged 18 and over won't be allowed to study in Australia.
"You will be expected to support yourself in the community until departing Australia,” the Immigration Department's letter reportedly says.
"From Monday 28 August you will need to find money each week for your own accommodation costs.
"From this date, you will also be responsible for all your other living costs like food, clothing and transport.
"You are expected to sign the Code of Behaviour when you are released into the Australian community. The Code of Behaviour outlines how you are to behave in the community.”
Human Rights Law Centre lawyer Daniel Webb said the new visa would leave asylum seekers "destitute”.
"It's hard enough for people in full employment with good wages to find a rental on three weeks' notice, let alone people our government has imprisoned for years on remote islands and banned from working or training,” he told Fairfax.
"(Immigration Minister Peter) Dutton knows full well he is making people destitute.
"It's a cruel attempt to force them to return to danger. We're talking about people who have been part of our communities for years.” - staff writers