Asylum seekers cross country to find work

ASYLUM seekers allowed to live in the community on the Gillard government's new bridging visas are travelling thousands of kilometres to find work, a major refugee advocate has revealed.
The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre says refugees released in Brisbane have travelled 2000 kilometres to Melbourne to seek work.
The Melbourne-based centre's spokeswoman Pamela Curr said: ''We've had 20 to 30 turn up on our doorstep.
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''They're not interested in settlement, they want a job.''
Since November 25 the Australian Government has granted 495 bridging visas allowing non-citizens to lawfully live in the country while their visa applications are being processed. The centre is lobbying the government for vocational English training for the refugees.
''Some of them have so little English they run the risk of cutting their hand off in a factory,'' Ms Curr said.
While community groups were often ready to help provide work, she said many on bridging visas were left with not enough support after spending two years in detention centres.
It is not known how many asylum seekers on bridging visas are in the ACT but the Department of Immigration and Citizenship says there are 52 refugees in community detention in the territory.
There are 32 adults and 20 children, of which four are unaccompanied minors.
According to Ms Curr a number of the refugees on community detention in the territory were caught up in recent unrest in Iran, including torture victims.
''Some very injured people went to Canberra,'' Ms Curr said.
Department of Immigration figures state the majority were from Iran or Sri Lanka.
She said refugees on bridging visas and in community detention survived on welfare paid through the Red Cross which for a single man equates to $433 a fortnight, or 89 per cent of the lowest Centrelink payment.
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