Western Sydney MRC has seen a 50% increase in the number of referrals for temporary visa holders throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Temporary visa holders are ineligible for the Settlement Engagement and Transition Support (SETS) program and as such are often left with limited supports. Wherever possible temporary visa holders have been supported through Western Sydney MRC’s DSS funded Emergency Relief (ER) program and casework support, however, we have had limited ongoing capacity to respond to the increased need. Western Sydney MRC was granted additional funding under DSS ER grants to support people impacted by COVID-19 and Western Sydney MRC has utilized over $11,000 in direct funding to individuals from May-June. Most of this funding has gone to temporary visa holders through food vouchers, pharmacy assistance and rental support. Within the ER funding model, there is no funding to cover the administration and delivery.
Through the delivery of the ER program, temporary visa holders are presenting with complex needs including family and domestic violence, homelessness, disability and unemployment. Western Sydney MRC is supporting in a limited capacity through the Multicultural NSW funded temporary visa crisis case management program.
In the initial weeks of delivering this program, the main requests have been employment support with many of the individuals that have lost their job due to the pandemic. Emergency Relief support provided is only a short term solution and for all the individuals and families we have assessed their main priority is to find employment to be self-sufficient.
We have been successful in approval of a second submission for top-up funding received via Multicultural NSW. In a recent article, MP Melanie Gibbons said
“I commend the work of all the staff and volunteers who have stepped up during these extremely difficult times to support our local community when we need it most,” Ms Gibbons said.
“Western Sydney Migrant Resource Centre provides vital services to some of our most vulnerable local community members – in some instances these may be temporary visa holders and in others they may be longer term migrants.
“This funding is a vital boost and will ensure the delivery of essential services and emergency relief support.”Liverpool Champion
The NSW Government announced $4 million dollars in funding to support migrant workers and temporary visa holders in NSW impacted by COVID-19.
The State Government will fund specialist migrant and settlement NGOs, and multicultural community organisations who provide support to vulnerable people including domestic violence survivors.