In October 1999 the Federal Government introduced legislation
granting 3 year Temporary Protection Visas (TPVs) to those arriving
without proper documentation and determined to be refugees.
Previously such people were granted permanent residency. This
change in legislation affected mostly Afghan and Iraqi asylum
seekers arriving by boat. At the same time no additional government
funds were made available to assist this group. Existing Community
Legal Centres (CLC) in WA agreed they could not meet this new
demand for services so a number of lawyers, solicitors and
community members came together to establish a new CLC, and CASE
For Refugees was incorporated in August 2002.
A voluntary Board of Management was formed, a constitution
written and, with only one paid employee, around 160 people
became actively involved as CASE volunteers. CASE received initial
support from CARAD and the Uniting Church, who gave rent-free
premises in Trinity Arcade in the city.
The issuing of temporary protection allowed, in most cases, for
a stay in Australia of 3 years. When the visa expired the
individual had to again provide evidence that there was an ongoing
legitimate claim for protection. CASE volunteers assisted the
individuals to write statements and submissions supporting their
claims. With the assistance of CARAD volunteers, the men then
attended another Immigration interview and awaited their
After 3 years of 'waiting' almost 98% of these men were again
found to meet the definition of being a refugee and were finally
granted permanenet protection and the right to live in Australia
and access services allowed to the general population. Between
2002 - 2006 CASE assisted around 850 TPV holders to obtain
permanent protection visas. In many of these cases this involved an
initial negative Immigration decision followed by a
successful review at the Refugee Review Tribunal.
Now that these men had achieved permanent staus, and temporary
protection visas were no longer being issued, they wished to
sponsor their family members to join them in Australia. CASE for
Refugees adapted to this need and launched the "Family Reunion
Project" in 2005 to assist previous clients and new humanitarian
entrants to be re-united with family members in Australia. Since
2006 this has become almost two thirds of our work, with the other
third continuing to be providing assistance to asylum seekers
in need of protection.