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We are calling for urgent action to lift Australia’s humanitarian intake, as new research from United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) shows the number of people experiencing forced displacement increased at a record-breaking rate in 2023. 

The UNHCR’s Global Trends: Forced Displacement in 2023 has found that more than 117 million people were forcibly displaced by violence, conflict, and persecution in 2023 – up by almost 9 million people from the prior year.  

Forced displacement is estimated to have continued rising in the first four months of 2024, likely surpassing 120 million by the end of April. 

For the past 12 years, the UNHCR has recorded annual increases in forced displacement, with each year setting a new record. 

This record-breaking displacement highlights the need for the Australian government to uplift the humanitarian intake to respond to pressing global need. 

We are calling on the Australian government to meet its commitment to increase the humanitarian intake from 20,000 places to 27,000 places per annum. 

Despite the rapidly growing need for resettlement places, the size of Australia’s Humanitarian Program had remained relatively stagnant for decades.  

Scaling up the program would help address the significant global shortfall in resettlement places, reunite refugees already in Australia with their families, and showcase Australia’s commitment to being a responsible global citizen. 

There is also widespread recognition globally of the need for a range of permanent and secure pathways for the growing numbers of refugees around the world. This includes complementary pathways such as community sponsorship. It is an innovative solution that enables everyday community members to step up to protect people displaced by conflict and persecution. 

Australia’s refugee resettlement sector has the skills and expertise to quickly scale up and support an increased refugee intake. We simply ask the government to open the door. 

Read the UNHCR’s full report here: https://www.unhcr.org/global-trends

 

Earlier this year, our team at SSI Legal Pty Ltd. launched SSI’s very own legal service dedicated to providing immigration and citizenship assistance to clients across Australia. Our mission is simple: to guide our clients through the complex migration system, making it more simple, affordable, and accessible to everyone.  

From left to right: Stephanie, Lucy, Emily, and Grace.

Senior Lawyer, Stephanie Camilleri, along with her professional team of lawyers Lucy and Grace and paralegals Emily, Julianne and Anjanaa service SSI Legal clients with a shared genuine passion for helping others. As Stephanie put it, “It’s not just about the law; it’s about changing lives and reuniting families. This philosophy drives everything we do.” 

“From partner visas and skilled worker visas to student and protection visas, we cover a wide range of services to both individuals and organisations. Our team is here to support our clients through every step of the journey,” she added.  

The team brings an incredible wealth of knowledge and experience, and together, are committed to delivering personalised, compassionate legal advice and support. 

“One of our recent successes involves reuniting a family that had been separated for 12 years. Seeing the joy on our client’s face was a powerful reminder of why we do what we do,” Stephanie said. 

“Every case is unique, and we approach each one with the care and attention it deserves.” 

Operating out of Melbourne but serving clients nationwide, the SSI Legal team is ready to assist clients from all backgrounds, no matter where they are in Australia or beyond.  

“We understand the challenges and uncertainties of immigration, and our goal is to make the process as smooth and stress-free as possible,” Stephanie added.  

SSI Legal Pty Ltd is a certified social enterprise offering legal advice and services to individuals and organisations on a fee-for-service basis. For more information or to speak to one of our dedicated immigration lawyers, visit our website: www.ssi.org.au/our-services/ssi-legal/about-ssi-legal

SSI welcomes the Federal Government’s announcement of a new study that will tackle antisemitism, Islamophobia, and the experience of First Nations people within the Australian university sector. The study aims to examine racism in universities and provide recommendations to ensure the safety of students and staff members.

Australia needs to create a safe environment for everyone, irrespective of their language, race or cultural background. 

What is clear from the growing evidence base is that racism is prevalent in Australian communities. Racism poses a significant social and economic threat to our country. 

Efforts to support social cohesion must go beyond the positive promotion of multiculturalism and actively denounce racism. 

We view this study, which will be led by the Race Discrimination Commissioner, as an important step towards better understanding the prevalence and impact of racism and, importantly, practical actions to reduce it.  

SSI continues to call for a coordinated, national response to eliminate racism and promote social inclusion, both on campuses and across our country. Australia will be stronger and safer for it.  

SSI welcomes the vision set out in the Federal Government’s newly released Early Years Strategy as a step towards early childhood policies, programs and services that will support the best outcomes for all children, regardless of their backgrounds. 

This Early Years Strategy is underpinned by the principles of equity and inclusion, including a commitment to provide foundational supports to children with potential developmental delays and to address these concerns early. 

We also commend the focus on maintaining children’s identities and cultural connections. This sits alongside a commitment to empower parents, caregivers and families in ways that are culturally responsive and targeted – something we see the importance of throughout our work with culturally diverse families, including as part of the national Community Hubs program. 

From our work delivering place-based initiatives such as our involvement in Logan Together, we recognise the importance of local solutions for local problems, reflected in the Strategy. 

Importantly, this is Australia’s first Early Years Strategy to strengthen accountability, coordination and collaboration across all levels of government over the next 10 years, setting a clear roadmap for change with action plans and an outcomes framework to monitor and track progress. SSI looks forward to being part of these collaborative initiatives and translating them into tangible outcomes for all Australian children. 

Domestic and family violence

SSI welcomes the NSW Government’s funding package of $230 million over four years as an essential initial response and immediate action to support meaningful, real solutions that will keep women and children in the state safe.

SSI further welcomes the comprehensive nature of the package encompassing prevention, early intervention, crisis response, justice system improvements, and service sector support for enhanced capacity. It is particularly heartening to see funding targeted towards children who are often overlooked in the development of government policy, particularly those from multicultural backgrounds.

It is critical that our safety systems and services are responsive to communities in all their diversity. At present, the system is complex and difficult to navigate for multicultural communities, particularly those who are new to Australia.

Working with migrant, refugee and multicultural communities, we see firsthand the importance of integrated services and case management in support of women impacted by gender-based violence.

SSI provides culturally responsive safety services to migrant and refugee women and children, works with multicultural communities to design and implement awareness raising initiatives, and builds capacity of settlement services to support women, children and families.

We urge the NSW government to ensure that equitable access, experience and outcomes—including specifically for migrant and refugee women and children—are central to the implementation of the package and are embedded in the ongoing focus on addressing the crisis in the state of women’s and family safety.

SSI is committed to working with the NSW government and the specialist domestic, family and sexual violence sector to ensure meaningful collaboration in tackling the root causes of this crisis and to bring about a positive change for all women and children.

SSI will be participating in the Global Refugee Forum (GRF) next week in Geneva. Making pledges at the GRF is an opportunity to contribute to a collective effort aimed at improving the lives of refugees and foster sustainable solutions.

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We are joining with voices from across the humanitarian sector to call for an ongoing ceasefire in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories in order to prioritise the safety and security of civilians and displaced people.

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Almost 100 people, including young people, gathered to learn about the unique challenges and opportunities facing young migrants and refugees at a dedicated Youth Symposium last month.

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The community of carers weaved throughout SSI’s programs ensures there’s always a helping hand when someone reaches out for support.

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