Refugee Legal is Australia’s largest not-for-profit provider of free legal services in its specialist field of immigration and refugee law.
- In 2019-2020, Refugee Legal’s client assistance totalled over 10,977.
- Fast facts for this year are:
- Our clients in 2017-2018 came from 114 countries across the globe. The top 10 countries of origin were:
Where our work makes its impact – transforming lives
A 32 year old Sri Lankan Tamil man, Nalan, arrived in Australia by boat seeking safety over eight years ago. It was five years before he was allowed to apply for protection. In September 2019, two years after applying, and seven years after his arrival, he was finally interviewed by the Government about his fears. Then, in April this year, during lockdown, Nalan received a decision in the mail. His case was refused. He had 21 days to lodge appeal paperwork. He panicked. Then he called us. We immediately booked him into our TPV Clinic.
Nalan told us how empowering it was, despite his ordeal, to be listened to and helped at this time of great need. After a day with a pro bono law firm volunteer working interstate, a Refugee Legal lawyer supervising from their home in Melbourne, an interpreter in another part of the country, and our client at home, the legal paperwork was completed within the deadline.
Sophia’s story is one of perseverance and strength in the face of extreme hardship. Sophia survived a brutal totalitarian regime in her home country, but at great personal cost, losing members of her immediate family at a young age. As an adult, she suffered discrimination and humiliation due to her political views and faced threats to her, and her children’s lives.
Over ten years ago, Sophia fled to Australia with her young sons. Refugee Legal assisted Sophia to lodge a claim for protection but Sophia’s journey did not end there. The legal process was long and arduous and involved multiple tribunal hearings, court appeals, and the tireless work of countless lawyers.
Finally, almost a decade after seeking protection in Australia, Sophia and her sons were granted permanent protection visas to stay in Australia. Sophia continues to be a strong advocate for the rights of her people and is finally able to rebuild her life in safety.
Ivan arrived in Australia in 2015 after a harrowing escape from his homeland in Central Asia. Ivan’s journey is one of extraordinary perseverance in the face of serious corruption. He spent a number of years being pursued by a senior member of the police force in his homeland after he was involved in an accidental car crash with this officer. Ivan was physically assaulted. His house was lit on fire. He was framed for a crime he did not commit and imprisoned. He was eventually forced to flee with his wife to a remote rural area to avoid further retribution. Ivan’s attempts to seek the protection of authorities failed numerous times and eventually he escaped to a neighbouring country, before flying to Australia.
Upon arriving in Australia, Ivan sought the assistance of Refugee Legal to file an application for a protection visa. Ivan’s case was highly complex, and our lawyers worked tirelessly to ensure that his protection claims were understood. Ivan and his wife lived in limbo for over four years, as he awaited an interview for his protection claims to be heard. At the beginning of 2020, Ivan was granted that interview and was found to be owed protection. Finally, five years after arriving in Australia, Ivan and his wife now have the certainty of knowing that they will be able to live safely and without fear in Australia. They are currently settled in Melbourne and Ivan has recently qualified as a healthcare professional.
* Personal details have been changed to protect confidentiality