Did you know that there are more than 2,000 people living in Queensland on bridging visas?
A Bridging visa A (BVA) is a temporary visa. It allows you to stay in Australia after your current substantive visa ceases and while your substantive visa application is being processed. It can be granted if you lodge an application in Australia for a substantive visa while you still hold a substantive visa. Learn more about bridging visas here.
Do you feel confused reading that definition? Understanding what a bridging visa is? Yes me too. Now imagine how you would go navigating a 101 question visa application about a visa that could literally save your life, if english was your second (or third) language.
Concerned Brisbane citizens and organisations have banded together to raise funds for legal support to help more than 2,000 people living on bridging visas in Queensland take advantage of a one-off opportunity to apply for a Temporary Protection Visa through the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. Asylum Circle spokesperson Anne Hilton said people who had arrived by sea before January 2014 have 28 days to submit applications to stay.
“These people are currently living on Bridging Visas which means they have no real opportunity to start a decent life here,” Ms Hilton said.
“They now have the opportunity to apply for three year or five year visas that will greatly improve their situations while their permanent status gets sorted out.”
“The visa application process is complex and time consuming. For example, they have to answer 101 questions in English.”
“These people need urgent legal help to apply,” she said.
Currently, lawyers, migration agents and support staff working in Salvos Asylum Seeker Clinic and Refugee and Immigration Legal Service (RAILS) are helping people make their visa applications.
Ms Hilton said both legal services urgently need help for coordination and research staff to support the volunteer lawyers and migration agents provide advice to all eligible people in time.
Asylum Circle has launched a crowd funding campaign to raise $100,000 to boost the efforts of these legal services.
Ms Hilton said funds will help people prepare stronger, more accurate applications with a greater chance of success.
“We need to improve the chances of safety and certainty for these people who have already survived trauma, loss and hardship,” she said.
“Without support from Queenslanders, they risk being sent back to the country they fled.”
Donations can be made via www.givenow.com.au/communifyqldasylumcircle or direct deposit to Communify Qld Inc Gift Account Reference: Asylum Seeker Legal BSB: 064123 Account: 10123138
All donations are tax deductible with no administration fees.
Asylum Circle is a collaborative project auspiced by Communify Qld that contributes to the Queensland-based people who are seeking asylum so that they can enjoy a decent life with some certainty and safety.
For more information contact
Anne Hilton firstname.lastname@example.org 0416 043 093
Find out more at www.asylumcircle.com.au