This program is aimed at supporting Asylum Seekers under financial hardship while they are awaiting the outcome of their protection visa application. Outcomes for these clients client may not be known for two years or more. Asylum seekers living in both the Mildura Region and Robinvale are supported through these programs. SMECC supports around 60 clients through this program.
Asylum seekers entrants on Bridging Visas who fall into these programs face significant challenges.
Most do not have the right to work in Australia, so even if they want to work and be financially self-reliant they are not permitted to.
They are only eligible to receive a small number of hours of English language class support, limiting their ability to fully engage with the community and services without support (45 hours, compared with 510 hours of class support for arrivals under Humanitarian Protection and other permanent visas).
National policies and requirements for this group frequently change, meaning a lack of certainty over their future status. This makes many challenges for this group in being able to be part of our community and plan for their future.
This program is designed for clients awaiting the outcome of their application, with their needs assessed individually to determine the types of support that they are able to be provided. The majority of this support focuses on supporting clients to ensure their keep their documentation requirements updated, and modified according to policy change. Clients are also supported limited information and advice for their initial orientation to day-to-day life in Mildura and access to local services Similar to our settlement grants program (SGP) for other SMECC clients on permanent visas, this basic support can cover all aspects of day to day life;
Simple support such as: filling out English forms, joining a library, volunteering in the community or enrolling a child in school. Through to;
Support with more significant issues such as: accessing home loans, migration support, employment and training, support for complex health issues, and accessing police/ legal and crisis services in response to domestic violence.
Unlike the HSS program, SMECC is not permitted to physically accompany clients in the community in most circumstances, and is only able to provide advices and referral support.
On occasions a higher level of limited term support is required. This is focused on those who are released from immigration detention facilities to help them transition life in Australia, and intensive support for highly vulnerable people with complex issues.
SMECC delivers the HSS program as part of a partnership with Adult Multicultural Education Services (AMES), funded through the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection