Work rights for asylum seekers. Guest blogger: Bruce Kaye

Feb 19, 2013

Having had direct experience of asylum seeker hosting it has become obvious at the ground level that the ‘no work’ policy introduced in August last year by the Federal Government is creating confusion and misery for the asylum seekers and frustration and despair for those involved in hosting.

As citizens, my wife and I are happy to continue to provide this hospitality.  These people are in great need.  However it seems to us that the Government’s policy of not allowing these people to work simply makes it impossibly hard for them to live in the community at the end of their six weeks of homestay hospitality.  Not able to work they are driven into poverty, or the black economy. In any case dependence on Government resources is perpetuated instead of wages being earned and taxes paid.

In order to live in the community they must be able to work.

The new policy from August last year may look tough in the current political games of one upmanship, but it is inhumane and cruel and it simply will not achieve any effective settlement process for these people.  The longer they are forced into dependency and almost certain poverty by this new policy the harder it will be for them eventually to integrate into our society as contributing citizens.

From where we are as hosts the new policy makes our contributions seem quite fruitless.  Extending humane personal hospitality to asylum seekers stands out in stark contrast to the cruel policy of the government.  As citizens and hosts that is a stark contradiction that is painfully embarrassing.

Our experience on the ground shows the post August policy to be counter productive and makes us as Australian citizens feel really quite ashamed of our government.

Bruce Kaye

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