Thousands of refugees to be granted permanent visas as Labor moves to fulfil election promise


Thousands of refugees across Australia who have lived “in limbo” for years will be eligible to stay in the country permanently as Labor moves to enact its pre-election commitment.

From Monday, around 19,000 refugees who arrived in Australia before Operation Sovereign Borders started in 2013 will be able to apply to transition to a permanent Resolution of Status (RoS) visa.

The move affects people who hold Temporary Protection Visas (TPV) and Safe Haven Enterprise Visas (SHEV) which Labor promised to abolish at the last election and have been described as cruel by human rights groups.

Those granted a new visa will have the same rights and benefits as all other permanent residents, and will be immediately eligible for social security payments, access to the NDIS and higher education assistance.

They will also be permitted to apply to become citizens once they meet the necessary citizenship requirements and will be able to sponsor family members to come to Australia.

A man with glasses stands in front of parliament
Immigration minister Andrew Giles says TPV and SHEV holders are often key workers in regional Australia.(AAP: Lukas Coch)

Immigration Minister Andrew Giles made the long-awaited announcement on Sunday night, saying thousands of people who have contributed to Australia had endured a decade of uncertainty due to policies of former Coalition governments.

“TPV and SHEV holders work, pay taxes, start businesses, employ Australians and build lives in our communities — often in rural and regional areas,” he said.

“Without permanent visas, however, they’ve been unable to get a loan to buy a house, build their businesses or pursue further education.

“It makes no sense — economically or socially — to keep them in limbo.”

The government was last week criticised by refugee advocate Behrouz Boochani and members of the crossbench for not acting quickly enough to implement its election commitment.  

Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil reiterated the Albanese government’s commitment to Operation Sovereign Borders and warned people against attempting to come to Australia by boat.

“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,” she said.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *