You may have seen recent media coverage of the latest draconian and dangerous change in how the Government is treating people seeking safety in our country.
This change in policy seeks to coerce potentially thousands of people into rushing ahead to try to complete complex and onerous paperwork - all in English - and without essential legal assistance.
These people, who had been subjected to legal limbo for years, have now been set an arbitrary and utterly unfair deadline of a matter of days to submit their visa applications under the Government's fundamentally unfair 'Fast Track' system.
This latest move by the Government has caused further fear and panic amongst people who have already suffered enough.
If they don't submit their applications by the deadline, they face grave consequences. Departmental letters (see right box) are now threatening to strip people of their bridging visas, their subsistence living allowance, and their right to work. They've also been threatened with being permanently deprived of their right to apply for protection.
This could ultimately lead to people being deported to danger without the Government even hearing their cases for protection.
Forcing people to apply under these timeframes denies them the right to get essential legal help - with the aid of a qualified interpreter - to set out all their past persecution, trauma and fears of return.
At Refugee Legal, we need to help the thousands of people on our waiting list.
But we need your help to help them in this time of emergency.
What we can do
Through our Temporary Protection Clinics and with the assistance of 550+ volunteers, including 130 lawyers from five major corporate law firms already in partnership with Refugee Legal, we have already assisted hundreds of families and individuals to apply for a TPV. Given this, we are well positioned to meet this new challenge, however, we need an injection of funding to allow us to urgently upscale our resources to meet this emergency need.
We will use these new funds to pay for additional legal capacity (for training and supervision of volunteer lawyers) and professional interpreter services. These are essential because, if people who have fled for their lives cannot tell their history and fears in their own words, there is a grave risk that they will be denied protection and sent back to persecution and even death.
What you can do
At this moment, we are asking for your help in the form of donations to our Emergency Refugee Legal Appeal so we can urgently help the many people on our waiting list.
As ever, your support is appreciated and even more so in this unforeseen emergency for these most vulnerable of our fellow human beings.
Thanking you in anticipation of your support,
Executive Director, Refugee Legal
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