Babar has faced a painful journey since fleeing repression and intimidation in Pakistan in 2001. He arrived in Australia alone and scared. A bridging visa meant he was soon able to find work—first at a chicken factory and then as a taxi driver. ‘Australia is my honey land, the land where you can fill up your dreams,’ he would tell his passengers.
But eight years later, he is still battling. He has been through the courts more times than he can remember, and lost money to unscrupulous migration agents. Then, a year ago, he was told he was working illegally, despite having official papers granting him work rights. Babar was thrown into Villawood Detention Centre. ‘I didn’t want to look up at the fences, because if I looked at them I felt very much chained.’
Released four months later with no work rights, Babar fell into despair. He was put in touch with JRS, which became his lifeline and sole support. JRS also helped advocate for the return of his work rights, which finally happened this week “Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of you here at JRS”, he kept saying, when he came to share the good news.
Despite years of heartache Babar is confident he will be granted residency and will achieve his dream of becoming an Australian. And when he does, he would love to get married. ‘You need someone with you, someone to talk to and share your feelings. After that, I will see what I can do.’
JRS supports Babar, and many others like him. With your help, we can continue make a world of difference in their lives.