By Paghona Peggy Kerdo (La Trobe Law School)
On Sunday 3 May 2015, students from the La Trobe Law School Clinic visited The New Hope Community Church in Templestowe to assist Iranian asylum seekers.
These asylum seekers arrived by boat over two years ago and were released on bridging visas into the community following their health and security checks. Most of them have no permission to work and rely on charity and meagre financial support from the Government.
About 28,500 boat arrivals are currently in the Australian community awaiting the commencement of processing of their claims. Most of them have not lodged a protection visa application or obtained legal advice on their situation. Funding for refugee advocacy organisations and legal aid has been slashed. There is a very real fear that, with the commencement of processing of these claims (thought to be in the next few months), this vulnerable group will be targeted by unscrupulous migration agents.
The La Trobe Law School Clinic presented an information session, with the assistance of a volunteer Persian interpreter. Students then assisted people in filling Freedom of Information forms, so that asylum seekers could prepare for the pending commencement of the processing of their claims. About 12 of these families have become clients of the clinic, and LAW4LPP students (under supervision) have started work on their matters. More news to follow…