SSI News Blog

An information session for those in the Latin American community in Melbourne has helped over 30 people understand more about Australian protection visas and migration pathways.

People networking at an event in a large room.

Event attendees network at an information session co-hosted by SSI in Melbourne.

Settlement Services International (SSI)’s Immigration Advice and Application Assistance Service (IAAAS) and the Australian Multicultural Alliance (AMA) organised the session for the significant Latin American population in Melbourne unable to return home due to fear of persecution.

In late 2019, SSI met with the AMA to discuss the escalating political situation in Latin America with a particular focus on Chile.

They identified a common knowledge gap in the Latin American community about protection visas and how to access support.

They wanted to provide individuals on temporary visas with information about the Australian migration system and available migration pathways.

AMA CEO and Chilean community leader Eliana Aldunate is passionate about serving and keeping her community well informed with the latest migration advice in Australia. She said that the event was an opportunity to do just that.

“I love to serve my community and bring them together whenever there is an opportunity to do so,” she said.

“With the current situation in Chile, some people are not able to return home. The event was a great way of educating them on possible migration pathways in Australia.”

SSI IAAAS Program Manager Melinda Mann said that having Mary Hanna, the Principal Lawyer of Mary Hanna Lawyers, speak about Australia’s migration system and protection visas was a real bonus for attendees.

“Mary’s insights into Australia’s migration system and the humanitarian settlement program were valuable, and attendees got the opportunity to talk to her one-on-one afterwards,” Ms Mann said.

One attendee, a young woman from Colombia, said that she found the information session useful in helping her navigate the Australian migration system.

“I am so glad I came. I need to apply for protection but did not know what to do or how to get help, and I thought I would have to go back to Colombia, which is very dangerous for me.”

Since the event, SSI’s IAAAS program has seen a steady flow of inquiries from members of the Latin American community, who have been referred to relevant migration agents and other related services at no cost.

If you or anyone that you know is not able to return to their home country due to a well-founded fear of persecution, please ask them to contact the SSI IAAAS program directly 1800 932 082 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

They will have a discussion with any persons seeking asylum to determine if they are likely to be eligible for free professional migration services. Please contact us here to find out more.

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