Asylum seekers can be faced with extreme hardship and uncertainty about the future as a result of their situation. They may have experienced torture or trauma, speak little or no English, have little or no financial support and be without the comfort of family or friends.
For many asylum seekers, the refugee determination process can be complex and lengthy. While they remain in Australia until the outcome on their protection visa application is finalised by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC), they are not able to receive Centrelink support during this period.
This can place them in serious financial hardship if they're unable to work, don't have work rights or are unable to find work. Red Cross is contracted by DIAC to provide vital support for asylum seekers in the community experiencing financial hardship during this time. This support ensures their basic needs are met during this time of uncertainty.
Red Cross case workers can assist asylum seekers in accessing financial assistance to cover:
- basic living expenses (equivalent to 89% of Centrelink Special Benefit)
- general healthcare
- protection visa health and character checks.
We can also provide referrals to health services, counselling, accommodation, material aid such as clothing and furniture, education, legal services and social support.
DIAC manages visa applications, and Red Cross cannot assist or influence this process in any way or provide legal advice.
To receive support people need to meet financial hardship criteria and have been waiting for a decision on a protection visa for six months or more. There are some exemptions to the six-month waiting period.
For more information, please read the Asylum Seeker Assistance Scheme fact sheet.
DIAC sets the eligibility criteria for the program and must approve all applications made to the program.
If you have any questions about the program or would like to make an appointment with a Red Cross case worker, please contact an ASAS case worker through the Red Cross office in your state or territory.
Department of Immigration and Citizenship
Photo: Australian Red Cross