In March, Associate Professor Anna Ziersch presented at and helped organise a workshop in Adelaide on the impact of temporary visas on people seeking asylum. The workshop, ‘Precarious refuge: addressing the challenge of temporary asylum’, was organised by the Migration and Refugee Research Network (MARRNet – Anna Ziersch is a co-convenor) and co-hosted with the Hawke EU Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence. It was attended by service providers, students and academics, policy makers, advocates, and members of the general public.
Anna spoke about her research on the vulnerability to exploitation and discrimination in the workforce of refugees and people seeking asylum who are on temporary visas. Visiting Professor Nick Gill from the University of Exeter stressed the important role that academics can play in creating policy change. Panel speakers included staff from key refugee support organisations including Mary Ireland and Kevin Comber (St Vincent de Paul), Sister Mary Symonds (Mercy House of Welcome), Aimee Fuller (Host International) and Libby Hogarth (Australian Migrant Options) – who outlined the devastating impact of insecure visas on the lives of their clients. A key outcome of the workshop was the development of networks between attendees and refinement of research and advocacy priorities moving forward.
The vulnerability of temporary visa holders has been brought into sharp focus during the COVID-19 pandemic – highlighted in a Public Health Association of Australia media release Anna helped draft and by a range of refugee organisations including the Refugee Council of Australia.