Stories from our Caseworkers: JRS Australia is honoured to have a direct relationship with people seeking asylum and refugees. In 2018 alone, over 3,000 people were served by us. Each of our JRS Caseworkers meets remarkable people. Here is the story of Soraya*.
Pictured: JRS Casework Manager, Katie Spiroski (left) & Arrupe Manager, Maeve Brown (right) oversee the work of our dedicated Casework-team.
In 2012, Soraya* and her husband arrived in Australia by boat. They did not know whether they could stay, but they knew they were safe. In Western Sydney, the couple made a life for themselves and had two children.
In 2019, the family were told that their Status Resolution Support Service (SRSS) support payments would be cut. Initially, Soraya and her husband were able to support themselves, and their young family. Then, Soraya’s husband sustained a back injury that meant he had long periods off from work due to the pain.
The payments through SRSS were enough to cover some expenses, but the family often made choices between food, medication, and public transport. When Soraya was 8 months pregnant, the family’s SRSS payments were cut off. Unsure of how they would pay for rent or food, and terrified of being evicted before the arrival of their baby, Soraya came to JRS for support.
Through JRS, the family accessed emergency relief payments to keep their accommodation; JRS’ Foodbank covered basic weekly grocery items; and the family also accessed ongoing casework support.
This support included referrals to the Dandelion Support Network for baby items, Anglicare for additional financial support, and to Refugee Health for an Early Childhood Nurse to visit Soraya and the baby, as the family were still waiting on Medicare access for their newborn due to delays in issuing a Bridging Visa.
Soraya’s JRS caseworker also referred her to Refugee Advice and Casework Service (RACS) to help advocate with Immigration for the issue of the baby’s Bridging Visa. Since then, Soraya’s husband has been able to return to work and is now supporting his young family, but they are appreciative that JRS was there when they had no where else to go. Soraya is particularly grateful for the calm reassurance of her caseworker and that JRS would do everything it could to make sure that she and her baby had access to services that would ensure their health, safety and wellbeing.
We wish to thank Soraya for sharing her incredible story.
*Name has been changed to protect identity.
Our work. JRS supports many people who have struggled with cuts to SRSS and are experiencing issues concerning seeking asylum. Read more here.
The issues. The policies impacting upon the lives of people seeking asylum in Australia are discussed in our highly relevant JRS “Strangers No More” Election Statement here.
Support us. To support our work with people seeking asylum, please click here.