Hello dear praying friends!
It’s been a while since my last posting. I had a welcome two weeks’ break and attended a four days conference to do with reconciliation in the world-wide Body of Christ. Truly inspiring!
Despite my silence, I hope that you have been persevering with praying for the needs of refugees. I certainly have!
I have felt greatly encouraged by Pope Francis’ clear exhortation to show more mercy to the plight of refugees and have spent some time reading through some people’s blogs about this issue. It is truly a divisive one in people’s minds. That’s when it is good to refer back to what God says in His word about how to treat the stranger and trust Him with the outcome, as we obey His word. Otherwise we become stuck with indecision, as many nations seem to be at present. That’s why it is good to have such an outspoken spokesperson on the issue as the Pope! May God bless him for it!
I feel that we now need to pray, in anticipation of the imminent new intake of extra refugees; that Australia – its authorities and population (us), would be ready to offer welcoming and warmth to the newcomers.
Attached find an article which explains in (hopefully) helpful detail what the new intake means. Julie Bishop has since confirmed this undertaking, despite the recent change of leadership.
Blessings to you!
Asylum seeker intake explained: Who will come to Australia under the Government’s plan?
By political reporter Anna Henderson and political editor Chris Uhlmann from the ABC
Updated 9 Sep 2015
The Federal Government has announced it will accept 12,000 extra refugees affected by conflict in Syria and Iraq.
Those accepted will be eligible for permanent resettlement in Australia.
But who will come, when will they get here and is Australia prepared for the new arrivals?
WHO WILL BE ELIGIBLE?
This is a one-off intake of 12,000 refugees displaced by the conflict in Syria and Iraq. This additional quota is on top of the existing 13,750 places already set aside for this financial year.
Displaced women, children and families will be prioritised from camps in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey. Single men are considered best able to look after themselves.
There will be a focus on persecuted minorities.
Unaccompanied minors present a very difficult task in terms of both identification and resettlement because the Government has to become their guardian.
HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE SEEKING REFUGE?
There are 630,000 Syrians in Jordan who have already been registered by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. There are 81,000 people in the Zaatari refugee camp. The situation in Lebanon and Turkey is less well ordered.
WHAT CHECKS WILL PEOPLE HAVE TO UNDERTAKE TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR REFUGEE STATUS?
Applicants will have identity, health, character and security checks. The identity checks will include taking biometric data.
Those chosen will have to complete an Australian values statement that pledges allegiance to the national way of life and laws.
Once they have been selected, there will be a final health check by one of the International Office of Migration’s panel doctors and a final security assessment.
There is no English language requirement and applicants could be assessed in the refugee camps or via video conferencing.
The refugees will be given permanent visas and will come to Australia on commercial flights.
WHEN WILL THE FIRST REFUGEES START ARRIVING?
It is hoped that the first group will arrive before Christmas, but the department already has a considerable caseload which includes the 13,750 people from the existing program and the 30,000 asylum seekers who have attempted to reach Australia by boat.
ARE AUSTRALIAN AUTHORITIES PREPARED?
The Immigration Department has a regional office in Dubai and an office in Amman. Other officials will be dispatched from Australia soon and a second wave in a month.
Immigration already has “intimate contact” with the UNHCR and a good knowledge of its systems.
CAN FAMILIES SPONSOR RELATIVES FOR THE POSITIONS?
Families that are already here cannot sponsor their family members under this program, but permanent residents can use existing family reunion programs to try and bring relatives to Australia.
HOW MUCH WILL THE 12,000-PLACE INCREASE COST?
The “conservative” estimate of the cost of this will be $700 million over the forward estimates. There is no quota system for states to share the burden and where people end up is yet to be sorted, but the Department of Social Services has a good idea of where the existing communities are.
WHY PUT AN EXTRA $44 MILLION INTO AID?
What the UNHCR wanted was money. The $44 million will help support 240,000 people through winter and into next year. The money comes from the emergency fund in DFAT’s Overseas Development Aid budget, which is used to respond to emergencies like tsunamis and earthquakes.