Temporary Visa Holders left without essential services

Temporary Visa Holders left without essential services

As the cost of living rises, one group of Sydneysiders have been left without support after cuts by the New South Wales government.

Temporary visa holders – including people seeking asylum, international students, and others on temporary visas – have been hit hard by the cost of living crisis, which is climbing as State Government funding to crisis services ends.

Chantelle Ogilvie-Ellis is the Co-Lead Organiser at Sydney Alliance.

“Temporary visa holders contribute to our communities as neighbours, workers, neighbours students, mums and dads,” Ms Ogilvie-Ellis said.

“Most are able to sustain themselves, but like anyone, when they fall into crisis, they need support.”

The New South Wales Government stopped funding Emergency Relief Support Grants at the end of June, leaving people seeking asylum without financial support.  Maeve Brown is the Assistant Country Director at Jesuit Refugee Services.

“We are increasingly concerned that people seeking asylum and temporary visa holders, who do not have access to any form of Commonwealth funded financial safety net, are at great risk of homelessness and destitution as the cost-of-living continues to rise,” Ms Brown said. 

“We are also worried that the charity sector cannot keep pace to fill gaps to cover sky-high rents, as well as the increasing cost of food, utilities, medication, and other essential items.  We’re very aware that people who have come to Australia seeking safety, security and stability, are now struggling to keep a roof over their heads and provide for themselves and their families.

The International Student Intake, Assessment, Referral & Support Service (IAR) says it has had to close its doors to international students in crisis. Asha Ramzan is Executive Officer of Sydney Community Forum.

“We continue to receive urgent requests directly from international students in crisis as well as education providers and other community services,” she said.

Students have arrived in New South Wales to study, only to discover they can’t find anywhere safe or affordable to live.

“We’ve had to turn away international students who are struggling with mental health issues – they don’t have local references to apply for a rental property and they can’t find paid work where they’re not exploited.”


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