The Australian Government has begun granting ‘Final Departure’ Bridging Visa E (BVE) to some people seeking asylum who were previously transferred to Australia from Nauru or Papua New Guinea. These visas are typically granted for 6 months and may be renewed. They do not require visa holders to depart Australia at the end of the visa period. These visas carry work rights, Medicare access and access to education for children under 18. However, access to government-funded income support and accommodation will cease, typically
within a three-week period.
In Victoria, some families in ‘community detention’ are exempt from this process, including those with significant vulnerabilities including health, mental health or other vulnerabilities impacting on ability to work. Additionally, families who have children 12 years and under; and single parent families with children 17 years and under are also exempt.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR STUDENTS AND THEIR FAMILIES?
Students and their families may experience:
- Financial stress – families will no longer have access to Commonwealth income support and will need to find employment.
- Housing stress – families will need to find private rental accommodation, and may need to move in order to find affordable accommodation or be nearer to employment opportunities.
- Impacts on mental health and wellbeing as a result of uncertainty, financial distress.
HOW CAN I HELP?
Foundation House has produced a tipsheet for school staff to support students and families who are seeking asylum and have been granted ‘final departure’ bridging visas. This resource provides information for school staff about the bridging visa, implications for students and families, strategies to support wellbeing, continuity of learning as well as additional supports and services available. You can find the tipsheet “Information for school staff – Final Departure Bridging Visas” on our Professional Learning Resources page.