Australian Red Cross welcomes the findings of a new review into the nation’s COVID-19 response, in particular with respect to support for people on temporary visas.
The Review finds that economic supports should have been provided fairly and equitably, including that people on temporary visas should have been eligible for mainstream financial assistance.
The report also highlights ABS data which shows that some groups in society bore a greater pandemic burden than others – the COVID death rate for people born overseas is 2.5 times as high as for those born in Australia.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, migrant communities across the world were among the hardest hit by job losses and public health measures, and among the last to be considered for vital socio-economic support.
Australian Red Cross emergency relief support impacted more than 200,000 people on temporary visas or those without a visa who don’t have access to Centrelink or Medicare across Australia.
“We found that people needed support because they had run out of savings, their families overseas couldn’t support them anymore, and they were in financial hardship and needed support to meet their basic needs such as for food, housing and utilities,” said Australian Red Cross Director of Australian Programs, Vicki Mau.
“These barriers are not limited to a pandemic. When disaster strikes, often temporary visa holders can experience significant vulnerability. This is evidenced by the current flood emergency in Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania; we encourage governments to make sure everyone affected by a disaster – regardless of visa status – has access to supports,” she said.
“It is possible to remove barriers that create inequality in Australia. Red Cross stand ready to support people in vulnerable situations when they need us, no matter who they are.”
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More information on the situation in Australia: COVID-19 impacts us all.