Life Without Barriers has a National Immigration Support Service (NISS) team helping people who are refugees and seeking asylum with their settlement journey.
For this year’s National Refugee Week, we wanted to spotlight the incredible work our NISS team to. They help those who have come to Australia seeking safety and the opportunity for a new life.
Australia has a Status Resolution Support Services (SRSS) program that provides people seeking asylum temporary needs-based support while they wait for their immigration status to be resolved. Life Without Barriers is contracted by the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) to deliver SRSS.
The program helps people who are:
Transitioning into the community from immigration detention;
Living in the community under Residence Determination, or;
Living in the community on a bridging visa.
There are different categories and intensity of support that can be offered to someone in the program.
Whilst here is specific criteria for people to be eligible, the program aims to support people seeking asylum who are facing significant barriers, to become self-sufficient.
How we help
The majority of the people we support have complex needs – many have a history of significant trauma. Our National Immigration Support Service (NISS) team help them in many ways which could include mental health, medical and physical support as well as financial hardship.
Often, the people we support hold visas with conditions about the services available to them. Our team will work with them to ensure people are adequately supported to access services and help them understand their options. We do this through working in partnership with the government and advocating for service coordination as well as strong collaboration with various stakeholders.
We also complete SRSS applications for people who may be eligible to bring them into service and support them.
These are the many ways our NISS team help people in Australia who are seeking refuge from traumatic circumstances in their homelands. Here are just a few:
Accommodation – our team helps people find accommodation, including temporary accommodation, and referrals to specialist housing services. We also assist unaccompanied minors with accommodation alongside 24-hour care and support if needed.
Referrals on employments – we help people find work, training or volunteering opportunities, and help people to be job-ready.
Referrals on services– we work with partner organisations to connect people with the support they need, such as health and medical services and creating CVs.
Mental and physical wellbeing – we work with primary health care services, refugee specific health specialists, torture and trauma support providers and many others to help people address complex needs.
Creating community links - we connect people with community mentors to help them maintain cultural, social and religious connections, expand their networks and regain a sense of belonging.
Local orientation – we help people orientate into the community after being released from held detention. This ranges from helping with essential registrations such as Medicare and bank account set up, to helping them navigate public transport, health and other systems they may not be familiar with.
Working to help families – we give intensive and tailored support to families by co-developing goals with them, connecting them to services they need and helping advocate for additional support.
Education pathways – We work with people eligible for this support to find courses to help them find an education pathway, achieve their work goals, and secure a work placement.
When you have been through so much, and continue to face indefinite uncertainty, the support of someone on your side can mean the world. This National Refugee Week, we celebrate our NISS team and the partnerships they have with people seeking asylum. For more information about NISS, watch this video below:
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As we close out National Refugee Week Panos Massouris, Director, Children Youth and Families (Vic) and Immigra...