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An adult hand holding a small child's hand.
Photo: Ververidis Vasilis Shutterstock.com

Most people seeking asylum are found to be refugees. Many people seeking asylum living in our community are working, however they face many barriers to finding secure, decent employment including restrictive visa conditions.

The Status Resolution Support Service is an Australian Government program to help people seeking asylum living in Australia meet their most basic needs until their claim for refugee status is finalised. It provided people in financial hardship with:

  • income support
  • assistance to access torture and trauma counselling, and
  • case management.

Many people who were on this program were already experiencing poverty, due to the meagre income support provided – 89% of Newstart, equating to $35 a day. 

In May 2018, the Australian Government introduced strict, new eligibility criteria for the program which most people cannot meet. The Australian Government has removed the safety net and expects all people to gain stable employment to financially support themselves, despite the barriers they face.

These punitive changes come on top of decisions made last year that saw people cut off if the person:

  • studied full time (defined as 20 hours per week) regardless of whether the study enabled them to gain employment, and/or
  • transferred at least $1,000 overseas.  

For more information, visit the Refugee Council of Australia website.

An infographic showing key statistics around people seeking asylum in Australia


  1. Australian Government Department of Home Affairs, Illegal maritime arrivals on Bridging E visa, 31 March 2018
  2. Australian Government Department of Home Affairs, Illegal maritime arrivals on Bridging E visa, 31 March 2018
  3. Australian Government Department of Home Affairs, IMA Legacy Caseload: Report on the Processing Status and Outcomes, May 2018. This number has decreased since 2010/11 when 90% of people seeking asylum were determined to be refugees due to the removal of a genuine review process.



The Brotherhood of St Laurence supports people seeking asylum.

The Brotherhood of St Laurence (BSL) acknowledges and understands its obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and recognises that all children and young people have the right to be treated with respect and care, and to be safe from all forms of abuse. BSL has a zero tolerance towards child abuse.
Read the official statement signed by the Executive Director.

The Brotherhood recognises the harm that family violence causes and that freedom from violence is a basic human right.
We will support our staff, volunteers, clients and the community if they experience violence.

Find out more about the work of the Brotherhood
Australian Aboriginal flag, a yellow circle on two horizontal black and red stripes

The Brotherhood of St Laurence acknowledges and recognises the Traditional Owners of the land upon which we live and work, and we pay our respects to their Elders both past and present.

Torres Strait Islander flag, an icon of a traditional headdress on blue, black and green stripes