Sri Lankans joined hundreds of others in a protest outside Australia’s Parliament House today.
Hundreds of protesters rallied outside Australia’s Parliament House on Monday, saying they wanted to highlight the uncertain futures of many refugees since the government replaced permanent protection visas with temporary visas. the Associated Press reported.
The protesters were from Iraq, Iran, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Somalia and included Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar. Most were in Australia on three-year visas or five-year visas that are available to refugees who agree to live outside the major cities.
Such refugees lose their visas if they to return to their homelands to visit family.
The circumstances of the temporary visas are onerous as well as a bureaucratic nightmare,” Refugee Action Coalition spokesman Ian Rintoul said. “People are effectively in limbo on that are indefinitely separated from partners and from children as well as brothers and sisters.”
The temporary visas were introduced when the conservative government was first elected in 2013 as a way of deterring asylum seekers who come to Australia by boat. Refugees who do not arrive by boat are entitled to permanent protection visas.
Some asylum seekers who arrived by boat as far back as 2012 were only allowed to apply for refugee visas last year, Rintoul said.