HDY supports Refugee Advice and Casework Service as time runs out for asylum seekers

03 Mar 2017

Henry Davis York is holding a fundraising event tonight to celebrate and support its pro bono partnership with the Refugee Advice and Casework Service (RACS). Joining in the event will be asylum seekers, HDY staff, and other corporate partners.

RACS is one of Australia's oldest refugee legal organisations providing free, specialist legal assistance to protect and advocate for the human rights of people seeking asylum.

There are 1800 people on RACS's waiting list, as part of its Legal Help for Refugees clinic, who need help with making their protection visa applications. They form part of a legacy caseload of 24,500 people who arrived by boat before immigration rules changed in 2013. The application process and refugee law in Australia is very complex. The deadline for completing the applications has recently been brought forward. This makes the need for legal support to these vulnerable people more urgent as they may face deportation if they do not submit in time.

A new partnership launched yesterday will see lawyers from National Australia Bank (NAB) join lawyers from HDY to take statements from asylum seekers outlining their claims for protection. HDY's RACS clinic was established in October 2015 as part of RACS's Legal Help for Refugees project. RACS provides training in refugee law and supervision to all the lawyers volunteering as part of Legal Help for Refugees which was established in 2014 in response to the acute need.

Tanya Jackson-Vaughan of RACS has said: "The services we provide to these people seeking asylum are absolutely vital and under great strain. The application forms amount to some 62 pages, including 184 questions plus a detailed written statement, usually requiring the use of an interpreter. Immigration law in Australia is very complex so it is a process virtually impossible for our vulnerable and non-English speaking clients to navigate without legal assistance. RACS is delighted to be supported by this new NAB and HDY partnership to assist asylum seekers at this critical time."

Kathy Merrick
Head of Corporate Social Responsibility
+61 9947 6341