People seeking asylum have constantly expressed to RCOA their keen desire to improve their English and to undertake further education in order to contribute to Australia. There are currently around 30,000 asylum seekers living in Australia who arrived by boat and are waiting to have their claims processed. If they are found to be refugees, they will not be eligible for permanent residency in Australia and will instead be granted either a Temporary Protection Visas (TPV) or a Safe Haven Enterprise Visas (SHEV).
As they are not permanent residents of Australia, people seeking asylum and refugees on TPVs and SHEVs do not have access to the same services and entitlements as permanent Protection Visa holders or refugee and humanitarian entrants who are resettled from overseas. Some of the most significant differences in entitlements are those relating to tertiary education. These people face significant barriers which effectively prevent most people on these visas from pursuing further study. This in turn diminishes their employment prospects and undermines positive settlement outcomes. People living in the community who have either already been granted SHEVs or TPVs or who are awaiting a decision on protection claims also face barriers in their attempts to participate in high school education.
This research is informed by RCOA’s annual consultations with service providers and refugee community members, as well as a national teleconference on education held in partnership with the Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network (MYAN). RCOA thanks all those who contributed and especially the young people who shared their personal experiences.