What the budget means for refugees and people seeking humanitarian protection

What the budget means for refugees and people seeking humanitarian protection

Photo courtesy UNHCR

KEY POINTS

  • The Refugee and Humanitarian Program will provide 13,750 places in 2015-16, the same number as in 2014-15 and 6,250 fewer places than in 2012-13.
  • $149.5 million has been allocated for settlement services in 2015-16 and $283.1 million has been allocated to the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP). Additional funds have been allocated to expand the AMEP to include holders of temporary humanitarian visas for one year.
  • Specific funds have been allocated to assist young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds to access education and employment.
  • The total costs of detention and compliance-related programs for asylum seekers who arrived in Australia by boat will be $2.30 billion in 2015-16.
  • Overseas aid has been cut by $1 billion.

REFUGEE AND HUMANITARIAN PROGRAM

  • The 2014-15 Refugee and Humanitarian Program will provide 13,750 places. A minimum of 11,000 places will be available under the Refugee and Special Humanitarian Program components of the program, including 1,000 places for the Woman at Risk program. The program will remain at 13,750 until 2016-17 before increasing to 16,250 in 2017-18 and 18,750 in 2018-19.
  • Temporary Protection Visa and Safe Haven Enterprise Visa grants to refugees who arrived in Australia without visas will be in addition to the 13,750 grants under the Refugee and Humanitarian Program.

GENERAL MIGRATION PROGRAM

  • The 2015-16 Migration Program will remain static at 190,000 places, with 128,550 allocated to the skilled stream, 60,885 to the family stream 565 under special eligibility.
  • The changes to the composition of the family stream proposed in the 2014-15 budget, whereby additional partner and child places would be made available as a result of the abolition of non-contributory parent visas and a range of other family visas, have been abandoned.

SETTLEMENT SERVICES

  • The Settlement Services allocation within the Department of Social Services (DSS) budget includes current Humanitarian Settlement Services (HSS), Settlement Grants and National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) services, as well as grants for peak bodies. Total funding for this area in 2015-16 will be $149.5 million, an increase of $7.4 million on 2014-15 spending.
  • Funding for Adult Migrant Education Program (AMEP) in 2015-16 will be $283.1 million, with a target of assisting 60,000 migrants and humanitarian entrants. $14.5 million has been allocated for one year only to expand the AMEP to include refugees who hold temporary substantive visas (including Temporary Protection Visas, Safe Haven Enterprise Visas and Temporary Humanitarian Concern Visas).
  • $15.8 million has been allocated in 2015-16 for supervision and welfare for unaccompanied humanitarian minors, a reduction of $3.2 million on 2014-15. The Government expects this allocation to drop much further in 2016-17 to just $3.9 million.
  • As part of the Youth Employment Strategy within the Government’s new Growing Jobs and Small Business package, $22.1 million has been allocated over four years to support young people from refugee backgrounds and other vulnerable young migrants to “build skills and confidence to equip them to participate in education or work”.

Via the Refugee Council of Australia for more information visit their website 

For the full Refugee Council of Australia 2015 Budget analysis click here 

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