Australia

'Eight years is enough': Hundreds of temporary protection visa holders rally outside Parliament House

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Hundreds of temporary visa holders have rallied outside Parliament House demanding more rights.

Hundreds of temporary visa holders have rallied outside Parliament House demanding an end to processing delays and harsh restrictions. 

More than 1,000 protesters, many of whom have lived in Australia for several years on temporary visas, chanted "eight years is enough" and carried a coffin labelled "Human rights in Australia" across Parliament lawns. 

In 2014, the government closed off the main pathway to permanent residency for asylum seekers who arrived by boat, leaving thousands of people on short term visas with strict conditions even if they're found to be genuine refugees. 

Children are seen attending a rally by Temporary Protection Visa (TPV) and Safe Haven Enterprise Visa (SHEV) holders outside Parliament House in Canberra, Monday, 29 July, 2019. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch) NO ARCHIVING
A group of children at the protest.
AAP

Temporary protection visa (TPV) or Safe Haven Enterprise Visa (SHEV) holders have no rights to family reunions or to travel to other countries, meaning hundreds have not been able to see family members for years.

Ahmed arrived in Australia in 2011 as a refugee from southern Iraq and has not seen his son Ali since he was five years old. He's now 15. 

"Nine years and half I never sees my son as the immigration doesn't give any visa, any citizenship," he told SBS News.  

Samir Kafaji from the Iraqi Affairs Association Victoria said the 30,000 people living in limbo on protection visas deserved equal rights.

"We cannot rebuild our life on a temporary visa. We need to be as Australian, as a human being." 

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