Amnesty is asking for as many people as possible to ring Australian Senators to protest against TPVs. The campaign is set out at http://www.amnesty.org.au/refugees/comments/35495/.
Whilst the moving of asylum seekers out of offshore detention to the Australian mainland is a welcome movement, the use of TPVs is not a solution.
TPVs, previously disallowed by the Australian Senate, are a class of visa offering protection for up to three years to asylum seekers found to be genuine refugees.
TPV claims are re-assessed every three years and holders are returned to their country of origin if their claim is overturned.
TPVs are cancelled if the holder leaves Australia, and the holder cannot return. TPVs do not permit family, such as wives, husbands and children, to come to Australia.
We know from past experience that TPVs are unfair, inhumane and ineffective.
Their use during the first Pacific Solution (1999-2008) was supposed to discourage “boat people” by restricting the rights they’d be entitled to once they arrived in Australia. However, there is no evidence that TPVs have ever deterred people seeking asylum by boat.
In fact, in the two years following the introduction of TPVs, the number of boat arrivals increased, with 90 per cent of people (mostly men) granted permanent protection visas. The number of women and children risking the potentially fatal journey to Australia to reunite with their husbands and fathers also increased.
TPVs create uncertainty in the lives of asylum seekers, who constantly fear being returned home. Unable to fully settle into the community, the lives of TPV holders are put on hold for years. Stable, full-time work is harder to find because of the uncertainty of their residence, leading to a higher risk of poverty and welfare dependency. Separation from family has been shown to cause increased mental health problems for TPV holders.