17 June 2009

Improved support for trafficking victims caught in Australian visa limbo

The Australian Government today announced changes to Australia’s anti-people trafficking strategy in order to provide improved support for victims.

The changes, announced at the second meeting of the National Roundtable on People Trafficking in Canberra, will simplify the framework and enable victims of trafficking to access the relevant Australian visas for themselves and their family and starting the process earlier. This will reduce the pathway to a permanent Australian visa for eligible victims by at least two years.

The changes to the Australia Government Support for Victims of People Trafficking Program and the People Trafficking Visa Framework recognise the particular vulnerabilities of victims of trafficking and provide a more flexible framework to support victims and their families.

The Minister of Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, said he was pleased to be introducing the changes to the People Trafficking Visa Framework, which have been developed following consultations with a range of stakeholders.

‘These changes will simplify the framework and, importantly, provide victims and their immediate family members with greater certainty about their immigration status,’ Senator Evans said.

Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O’Connor said the Government was committed to combating all forms of people trafficking, including trafficking for sexual servitude and labour exploitation. Most victims of trafficking identified in Australia have been women working in the sex industry.

The Support for Victims of People Trafficking Program has provided assistance to 131 people since its inception in January 2004.
Changes to the anti trafficking strategy will include:

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with Australian visas applications and emigration to Australia.
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