For the first time Australian families under a government program will be able to house asylum seekers who are released on bridging visas. It will provide them with an opportunity to be introduced to the Australian community.
“We are pleased to see these positive steps relating to the processing of asylum seekers in the Australian community,” says Dr Graham Thom, Amnesty International’s refugee spokesperson.
“Community processing initiatives like the CPN are much cheaper than detention, and much more humane, giving asylum seekers the chance to start contributing to Australian society while they wait for their refugee status to be assessed,” says Dr Thom.
“We have to remember that ultimately 90% of asylum seekers will be found to be genuine refugees.”
Run by the Australian Homestay Network, CPN makes short-term homestay accommodation accessible to asylum seekers exiting immigration detention on a bridging visa.
The development reiterates Amnesty International’s long held position, which calls for the shift towards community-based processing of asylum seekers to be expedited.
Following its recent research trip covering some of the most remote detention facilities across the country, Amnesty International found that the environment of detention makes it incredibly difficult for asylum seekers to understand and engage with the system. Once released from detention, refugees often feel isolated and disconnected within the community. “This is a step forward and it honours Australia’s obligations under the Refugee Convention, but the Government must now continue to work towards increasing the number of bridging visa releases.” says Dr Thom.
How to get involved with the CPN initiative:
The Australian Homestay Network (AHN) will provide all approved hosts with information, training, insurance and support services throughout their involvement with the Australian Homestay Network (AHN). Anticipated costs to the host of providing accommodation will be reimbursed through AHN.
Members of the public interested to help by becoming a host may wish to visit the Community Placement Network (CPN) website to apply and to find out more information.