Approximately 10,500 individuals (including children under 15) are seeking asylum in Victoria, with 87% living in greater Melbourne.
The Status Resolution Support Services payment (SRSS) is a regular payment to help with basic living costs while waiting to hear about your immigration status. This program is the only government-funded support available to people seeking asylum in Australia, offering a vital living allowance of just $35 a day. These individuals are not eligible for any other form of social security, nor access to public housing or a low-income healthcare card. All living expenses must be covered by the individual, and without a low income healthcare card access to many food banks and charities is denied.
Research by frontline organizations shows that of this allowance, 50% is spent on rent, 25% on utilities, and the rest on travel and essentials, leaving approximately $20 a week for food.
The SRSS is a Govt allowance for asylum seekers of $35 a day
50% is spent on rent.
25% on basic utilities & phone.
leaving only $20 a week for food
after transport and essentials
New SRSS eligibility criteria introduced by the Federal Government in mid-2018 with a focus on a reclassification of individuals as job ready, This has resulted in many individuals now being exited from the program and expected to immediately to secure a job within weeks with no safety net.
The Government has added further complexity by also removing all access for asylum seekers to government-funded legal advice & interpreters, making navigation of the visa application process next to impossible whilst they wait up to 12 months to access free legal aid.
The government has indicated they will likely reduce SRSS recipients by approximately 62%. Research by the Refugee Council of Australia has found that 4 in 5 (79%) of people seeking asylum in Australia are at risk of homelessness if they lose the SRSS allowance.
Government cuts to the SRSS program will see many individuals reclassified as job ready regardless of english proficiency, age, health or care requirements.
24 refugee organizations, across 6 states & territories, with a combined caseload of 19500 refugees reveals that only 8% are working full-time
More than 75% have not been able to find work, and 50% are not job ready at all.
Only 1 in 5 can actually be classified as job ready.
Research by the Refugee Council of Australia has found that 4 in 5 (79%) of people seeking asylum in Australia are at risk of homelessness if they lose access to the SRSS allowance.
So no safety net, no possibility of work, no access to public housing or Medicare, no eligibility for government-funded English language classes or most food relief options. Yet left to fend for themselves whilst they await the government's visa application process.
And how long are they waiting in limbo with no safety net - given the Government has now introduced a fast track process?
Well ... last figures show approximately 6700 individuals are currently applying for bridging visas. The Government is processing on average 100 a month.