Australia fails to reintroduce temporary visa for refugees

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The Australian Government will not be able to reintroduce the so-called Temporary Protection Visas (TPVs). Those visas were used by the last conservative government in order to confer three-year right to stay for asylum seekers.

The visas were abolished by the last Labor government of Australia but, during the last general election campaign in September 2013, the opposition Coalition promised to reintroduce TPVs if re-elected. The Coalition won the election; using his executive powers, the newly appointed immigration minister Scott Morrison took steps to reintroduce TPVs. The Australian Parliament, however, rejected the proposal.

Therefore no more protection visas will be given to the 33 000 refugees that already live in Australia. Those visas grant temporary residence to asylum seekers as their name suggests. The asylum seekers that are already in Australia will be given bridge visas until their cases are decided by the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship. Asylum seekers who arrived in Australia after 13 August 2012 and have been issued with bridging visas (Bridging Visa E) are not allowed to work or to leave Australia pending the determination of their applications.

The Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison place the blame for the unsuccessful attempt to reintroduce the temporary visas on the opposition and claimed that many asylum seekers will suffer because of this decision. According to him the government still remains committed to the reintroduction of temporary protection visas.

He added ‘what a way to treat some of the world’s most vulnerable people who have come here seeking help; to say that we are going to keep you in permanent limbo and to say to some of the ‘we’re not even going to process your claims’.

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