Advocacy for new measures: write to your MP

by | Feb 15, 2023 | Posted to: News

It has been truly encouraging to see ongoing support for the CRISP across the political spectrum, with leaders from the LNP and ALP to the Greens and independents supporting the program. But the program will only achieve its true potential when every family supported is one more family able to find safety in Australia – rather than people who are already part of Australia’s humanitarian intake quota.

Encouragingly, Immigration Minister Andrew Giles has repeatedly stated the Albanese government’s commitment to make community sponsored places additional to the current intake quota. Now is the time for this to be made a reality. In the run up to May’s federal budget, help us demonstrate that there is strong support for the Albanese government’s plan by writing to your MP along the lines suggested below.

CRSA is also advocating for a new affordable and accessible program to enable Australians to nominate the person/family they wish to sponsor (a ‘linked’) program) to complement the CRISP (which benefits refugees selected by the UNHCR for resettlement in Australia). Use our template letter or the lines below to ask your federal MP to support this measure as well.

Suggested text for you to copy and paste and amend:

Dear [Recipient Name],

New measures are needed to fully harness community goodwill towards refugees
I’m a resident of [name of electorate]. I’m writing to express my distress about the growing scale of the global refugee challenge and to share my view that Australia should be offering more resettlement opportunities to refugees, including by tapping into the goodwill and resources of everyday Australians through community sponsorship programs. If you are not familiar with the concept of ‘community sponsorship’ please watch this 2 minute video.

[Add your own thoughts on why you think Australia should be welcoming more refugees and information on any local initiatives that you are involved in who would like to welcome and support refugees in the future.]

We are very pleased that Australia now has the Community Refugee Settlement and Integration Pilot (CRISP) program that allows everyday Australians to become involved in welcoming and providing practical support to refugee newcomers referred to Australia for resettlement by the UNHCR. This program was announced by the Coalition government in December 2021, and continues with the support of the Albanese government. Since its launch in May 2022, the CRISP has produced a wealth of examples of how everyday Australians are using their knowledge, resources and networks to assist refugee newcomers in achieving their goals and by doing so, enriching their own lives and local communities.

[Include relevant observations or supportive anecdotes if you have been involved in any community sponsorship programs such as the CRISP or Group Mentorship Program. Or link to this Australian Financial Review article.]

We are also very pleased to hear that the Albanese government is committed to expanding Australia’s humanitarian program in the future by progressively expanding the traditional government-led program to 27,000 places per year and providing 5,000 additional community sponsored visa places. We hope to see the government announce a roadmap towards these goals in the May budget and recommend the adoption of the following immediate measures:

  1. Make the remaining visa places attached to the four-year CRISP pilot additional to the core government-funded humanitarian intake (currently 13,750 places per annum). These places are included in the Humanitarian visa quota, even though their settlement support is provided by community members working in a voluntary capacity, not government-funded settlement service providers.
  2. Announce how and when the government plans to reach its stated goals with respect to expanding Australia’s humanitarian migration program and introducing additional community sponsored visas.
  3. Commit to commencing work on a new affordable and accessible community sponsorship stream similar to the CRISP but which allow Australian community members or groups to nominate refugees known to them and sponsor them to come to Australia.

Doing this will unlock and harness the time and financial resources of everyday Australians who are eager to help strengthen public involvement in and support for Australia’s humanitarian program, an important part of our national history and future.
I would be very grateful if you could lend your support to these measures in all relevant forums and encourage your Parliamentary colleagues to contact the Prime Minister and the Minister for Immigration to encourage them to adopt these measures.

Kind regards,