Wednesday, May 29, 2024

NSW councils welcome refugees plan

The peak advocacy body for NSW Councils has welcomed initiatives by the NSW and Federal governments to assist refugees and asylum seekers.

The NSW Government has released a NSW Settlement Strategy, while the Federal Government recently announced it will provide a permanent visa pathway for existing Temporary Protection Visa (TPV) and Safe Haven Enterprise Visa (SHEV) holders for around 19,000 eligible refugees and asylum seekers in Australia to apply for permanent residency.

The NSW Settlement Strategy is the first of its kind in the state, and brings together existing and new NSW Government initiatives to improve settlement outcomes for people from refugee and refugee-like backgrounds living in NSW.

“Multicultural NSW has worked closely with government and non-government stakeholders and heard directly from people with lived experience. This has meant we better understand what services, systems and processes have been working well for people from refugee and refugee-like backgrounds living in NSW, and where we have more to do,” the agency said in a statement.

The Strategy will be implemented between February 2023 and June 2025.

LGNSW says the Federal Government’s announcement to provide a pathway to permanent residency goes further than the motion from Leeton Shire Council, endorsed at its 2022 Annual Conference, where it called on both levels of government to “expeditiously transition refugees on Temporary Protection Visas or Safe Haven Enterprise Visas to Permanent Protection Visas to safeguard the health and wellbeing of these ‘temporary’ refugees and enable them to continue to contribute to the economic and social fabric of the communities they have chosen to call home”.

“The decisions from the NSW and Australian governments will further support people from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds and their families to settle, access services, improve education and job prospects and enhance their contributions into their local communities,” LGNSW said in a statement.

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