Hoax refugee email
Letter to the Editor -
The Adelaide Advertiser
07 May 2009
Claims that refugees living in Australia are paid more than Australian pensioners (Refugee gets more, Letters, 20/05/09) are incorrect.
For quite some time now the Department for Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) has dealt with this issue which began with a hoax email originating in Canada.
The figures quoted in the email bear no resemblance to financial assistance to asylum seekers and refugees settling in Australia.
The text and figures in the email appear to have originated in Canadian emails, websites and internet chatrooms. We suspect your reader has fallen victim to this email hoax.
Asylum seekers in Australia, who have not yet had their protection claims decided, have no access to Centrelink benefits.
Asylum Seeker Assistance Scheme payments to eligible asylum seekers and allowances paid to people in community detention on Christmas Island are paid 89 per cent of the Centrelink Newstart allowance – less than the aged pension.
In Australia, refugees granted permanent visas may gain access to benefits on the same basis and at the same rates as other Australian permanent residents. There is no separate rate of benefit payments for refugees.
Refugees received no cash payments under Australia’s Integrated Humanitarian Settlement Strategy. DIAC helps eligible refugees with English-language lessons and settling-in assistance including basic goods to start a household, subsidies for rent and utilities for their first four weeks in the country.
We would strongly encourage anyone who receives an email claiming asylum seekers or refugees are treated more favourably than Australian permanent residents to hit the delete button and ignore these claims.
National Communications Manager,
Department of Immigration and Citizenship
20 May 2009