Thousands of asylum seekers who have been on temporary protection visas for up to a decade will finally be able to become permanent residents in Australia under changes federal Labor will announce on Monday.
About 19,000 people will be eligible to apply for a permanent resolution of status visa which, if granted, will give them the same rights to access social security payments, the NDIS and higher education assistance in line with all other permanent residents.
The majority of the 19,000 refugees who will be able to become permanent residents come from Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Myanmar and Sri Lanka. Another 1500 people are having their initial asylum application assessed while 5000 people are having their applications reviewed by the courts. These groups could also be eligible for the resolution of status visa.
People who are granted a resolution of status visa will be able to eventually become Australian citizens once they meet the requirements, and they will then be able to sponsor family members to come to Australia.
Labor promised before the election to abolish temporary protection visas (TPV) and safe haven enterprise visas (SHEV). This masthead reported in December the introduction of the visa changes was being finalised, which was warmly welcomed by refugees and asylum seeker advocates.
Iranian woman Maryam, who fled to Australia a decade ago, said at the time that the move to permanent residency would mean she could see her family again after 10 years on a TPV, and that her son would be able to access HECS and attend university.
The changes only apply to people who entered Australia before Operation Sovereign Borders began operating in late 2013, or who have applied for a TPV or SHEV before February 14, 2023.
Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil said the government remained committed to Operation Sovereign Borders and that anyone who tried to enter Australia by boat without a valid visa would be deported to their home country or subject to regional processing.
“Let me be crystal clear – if you try to enter Australia without a valid visa you will be turned back or returned to your port of origin. There is zero chance of settling in Australia under Operation Sovereign Borders,” she said.