“An Asylum Seeker is a person who has fled their own country and applied for protection as a refugee.” The Australian Human Rights Commission
Currently there are around 300 Asylum Seekers in Geelong and the surrounding area who have fled another country where they have experienced, or were at risk of, experiencing torture and persecution.
Asylum Seekers have come to Australia seeking safety and now have one opportunity for protection by applying for a protection visa. The visa application process is very lengthy and complex, and requires a detailed written statement outlining their case for a visa. Everything needs to be completed in English.
Dealing with Government Departments, legal services and filling out forms can be difficult for anyone. Imagine going through the process without understanding the language on the forms and being unsure of how to access help while facing the prospect of being sent back to the country you fled to escape torture and persecution.
Asylum Seekers need our help!
The Geelong and Bellarine-based Seeking Refuge Project (SRP) is mobilising a small army of volunteer Migration Agents and administrative volunteers to help local Asylum Seekers prepare their protection visa applications. These volunteers will provide migration law advice and practical help to Asylum Seekers to apply for protection visas, and there is an urgent need for interpreters to work alongside them.
Professional interpreters are essential so that the Asylum Seekers and volunteers can understand each other. This understanding will make the application process possible and provide the Asylum Seekers with the best chance of having their story told. Once the Asylum Seeker’s story is properly told, their claim for protection can then reasonably be assessed.
Without access to interpreters Asylum Seekers will have difficulty understanding the requirements of the process, will have a reduced chance of their application being accepted and may be returned to the country from which they fled, the very country where they experienced violence, torture and persecution.