Dear Friends and supporters of TRLS,

This week we are celebrating Refugee week.

This is an important week when the world acknowledges the strength, courage and perseverance of millions of refugees all over the world. People who have fled conflict and persecution in their home country and who have left their homes with only their clothes on their back. These are people who have left family members, children who have left their mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters in search of safety and security. Refugee week also celebrates the contribution refugees make to our society.

The Tasmanian Refugee Legal Service provides expert crucial free legal advice, casework and assistance to refugees, asylum seekers, humanitarian entrants who are residing in Tasmania. Our clients are seeking a safe place where they can rebuild their lives and due to their circumstances, are otherwise unable to access appropriate migration and legal supports or free legal advice and assistance. TRLS is the only dedicated refugee, asylum seeker and humanitarian entrant legal service in Tasmania and we have assisted over 300 people (and their families) in the Tasmanian community with legal support so far this year.

We are a small group of Tasmanian lawyers who are upholding the rights of refugees and asylum seekers in Tasmania every day. Donations to our service go directly towards refugees and asylum seekers within the Tasmanian community and their families

In the past 12 months we have seen a 400% increase in the demand for our services for asylum seekers and refugees and their families in the Tasmanian community due the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan and the war in Ukraine and conflict in Ethiopia and other parts of the world. Legal support is the primary need for many asylum seekers and refugees in our community, without legal support many people will either never be able to reach Australia and reunify with their loved ones, or will not be able to stay in safety in Australia.

Right now, there is real hope for significant change for asylum seekers and refugees in Australia.

Our work at TRLS covers onshore asylum claims for Tasmanian residents applying for protection from their country of origin, offshore protection visa applications to reunite Tasmanian families who have been separated by war and conflict such as the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan and the war in Ukraine, and legal advice and casework for victims/survivors of family violence who are on temporary visas, where their migration status is impacted by the family violence or by the breakdown of their relationship. We also assist asylum seekers who arrived in Australia by boat as they navigate the visa application and appeals process, their pathways to permanent residency and where unsuccessful we provide representation all the way through to Ministerial Intervention requests.

We are a service that practices international human rights law every day, based here in Tasmania. TRLS is an organisation that all Tasmanians can be proud of. We are the only dedicated legal service of our kind in Tasmania and provide services State-wide.

Our clients are people who love Tasmania and are contributing to the Tasmanian community.  They have fled their country or origin because of circumstances beyond their control and are seeking a safe place to live and rebuild their lives.

Because of our work at TRLS there is hope for people like Kasim*:

Kasim fled Afghanistan when the Taliban took over the country last year because his life was in clear danger as a result of his work with the Australian mission in Afghanistan and his ethnicity. Kasim has close family in Tasmania.

Kasim came to TRLS for help.

TRLS presented detailed affidavit evidence, as well as written legal submissions to demonstrate Kasim could not return to his home country of origin as he would be targeted because of his ethnicity. TRLS put forward that Kasim would be at significant risk of harm if forced to return to his home country and that harm amounted to persecution under the refugee convention.

After a detailed hearing Kasim was granted a permanent protection visa to live in Australia forever.

The result was life changing for Kasim. Kasim stated that when he had confirmation that his permanent visa had been granted it was the biggest news of his life. Kasim stated that he felt like he was given a fear free and stress-free new life on the day his case was successful.

Because of TRLS, there is real hope for people like Daryna*:

Daryna had to flee her home in Ukraine as her home city was destroyed as a result of the war. Daryna wished to come to Tasmania to safety to be with a close friend.

Through her close friend in Tasmania, Daryna came to TRLS for help.

TRLS was able to lodge a visa application and legal submission to the Department of Home Affairs to request that Daryna be brought to safety in Tasmania. Within a week of the visa application and legal submission Daryna was granted a visa to come to safety to Tasmania.

TRLS offers real hope for people like Charlotte*:

Charlotte is a Tasmanian resident who was the victim of family violence and came to TRLS for help.

TRLS presented detailed evidence, as well as written legal submissions to demonstrate that Charlotte could not return to her country of origin because she was a member of a social group as a single, female, divorced, victim of family violence and that fitted within the definition of the refugee convention and therefore triggered Australia’s protection visa obligations. TRLS put forward that Charlotte would be at significant risk of harm if forced to return to her home country and that harm amounted to persecution under the refugee convention.

After a detailed hearing Charlotte was granted a permanent protection visa.

Charlotte had been living on a bridging visa 4 years in Tasmania, and therefore the result of permanent protection was life changing for Charlotte. Charlotte described the legal support she received as “lifesaving”.

There is now real hope for people like Wasim*:

Wasim has been living and working in the Tasmanian community for many years. TRLS took on Wasim’s case on appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal after he was refused his protection visa by the Department of Home Affairs.

After a seven year legal battle, TRLS was able to successfully overturn the primary decision and Wasim was granted asylum in Australian and can now continue to live in safety with his children here in Australia.

*Names have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the client.

Powered by your support we will continue to assist people like Kasim*, Charlotte*, Daryna* and Wasim* and people seeking asylum to navigate their way towards the enduring solution of permanent protection and the right to a safe future in Australia.

Your support enables us to change the course of many people and their families’ lives, giving them the chance to build a better life in safety and with dignity.

Your donation will go towards:

  • Interpreter fees. TRLS interpretation fees this financial year cost the service in excess of $30,000. As TRLS receives no funding for interpreting or translation fees, without public donations we would not have been able to provide free interpreters to our clients which is a necessary aspect of the work we do and a basic human right.
  • Direct legal advice and casework provision.
  • Volunteer expenses.
  • Expenses for outreach legal visits and legal education sessions to clients throughout Tasmania.

Donors are an essential part of what we do at the Tasmanian Refugee Legal Service. Your donation to our end of financial year Refugee week appeal will go directly to paying for legal support for our clients and will enable the service to take on more casework, which will change the course of more people’s lives like Kasim* Charlotte*, Daryna* and Wasim*.

The service has been able to navigate the way to permanent residency for many of our clients this year and with your help we can do so much more.

For many people, a permanent visa will mean an end to the cycle of uncertainty and suffering and provide people with a life where they can live with certainty, dignity and safety and with a sense of a new ‘home’.

As a Not-for-profit with DGR (Deductible Gift Recipient) status, donations made to TRLS are Tax Deductible. Please consider donating to our Tasmanian Refugee Legal Service World Refugee week and End of Financial Year Appeal.

Together we can continue to provide crucial free legal advice for people seeking asylum, refugees, and vulnerable migrants in the Tasmanian community.

We thank you for your ongoing support, we are forever grateful, as are our clients