Vinnies stands up for asylum seekers

Australia’s St Vincent de Paul Society – Vinnies – is condemning a Federal Government ultimatum to 7,500 asylum seekers.

They are being told to shape up with their paperwork or ship out – back home or somewhere else. Anywhere else.

They have until 1 October to produce the documentation the Government wants.

Vinnies National Council CEO Dr John Falzon says the ultimatum “is cruel, morally reprehensible and a fundamental repudiation of the Government’s moral and legal obligations to those seeking asylum in Australia”.

Federal Government Minister of Immigration Peter Dutton says the 7,500 asylum seekers have been living in Australia for up to five years without progressing their claims for refugee status.

In his opinion, their were thousands of “fake refugees”, who won’t provide information about their need for protection.

Falzon points out “many of the asylum seekers were not invited to apply for a protection visa until relatively recently”.

It’s not a simple task to get this work done, he says.

The paperwork in question can involve applicants submitting up to 60 pages of documentation.

At the same time, he says the Government has reduced funding for legal and interpreting services, forcing individuals and families to work through complex legal processes on their own.

In most cases the asylum seekers will be denied access to a fair and proper process, he says.

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