Temporary protection visa

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A Temporary Protection Visa (TPV) is an Australian visa document initially introduced by the Howard Government on 20 October 1999, which was issued to persons who had been recognised as refugees fleeing persecution. The scheme was controversial, with the government claiming it was a necessary response to the misuse of the asylum process by unauthorised arrivals. Refugee advocates described TPVs as a cruel way to treat people which left asylum seekers with an uncertain future.[1]

The Temporary Protection Visa (TPV) was issued to persons who applied for refugee status after making an unauthorised arrival in Australia, and was the main type of visa issued to refugees when released from Australian immigration detention facilities. After being granted a TPV, refugees were required to reapply three years later, in case conditions had changed in their homeland.

TPV holders are only eligible for some of the special settlement services funded by the Commonwealth to assist new arrivals in Australia. Unlike Permanent visa (PV) holders, TPV recipients have no family reunion rights and no right to re-enter the country if they decide to depart Australia. TPV holders do have the right to work and have access to job matching by Centrelink. They are also eligible for Special Benefit, Rent Assistance, Family Tax Benefit, Child Care Benefit, Medicare, Early Health Assessment and Intervention Program, torture and trauma counselling, and English as a Second Language classes (for TPV minors only).[2]

The Rudd Government committed itself to the abolition of the TPV category as part of its Budget 2008-09 announcements made in May 2008. The regulations providing for the granting of permanent protection visas (PPVs) to all refugees who have established a claim for protection in Australia were introduced into the federal Parliament in August 2008. From this time, any person who is applying in Australia for refugee protection will be granted a PPV. Individuals who were, as of August 2008, still on a TPV, became eligible to apply for a Resolution of Status Visa, which, should it be granted, is akin to a permanent protection visa. As for the TPV, the Resolution of Status Visa is granted subject to the TPV applicant undergoing health and ASIO/AFP security checks.

On 18 October 2013, the Abbott Government announced the re-instatement of the TPV category.

On 2 December 2013, Labor and the Greens won a vote in the Senate to disallow the return of TPVs. [3]

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