Alternatives to Detention in Australia

Intensive Case Resolution with Complex Cases

Vulnerable migrants with complex needs are referred to the Status Resolution Support Services (SRSS). As of October 2014, the SRSS replaced four previous support programs. The SRSS is designed to provide extra support to individuals as they engage with immigration authorities. The guiding principles of the SRSS are to involve clients in identifying and addressing their own needs and building on their own strengths. The three broad areas of service provision are orientation, accommodation and case management. Find out more.

This service is built on an original pilot program with a group of clients with highlevel welfare needs and an average of more than six years in Australia. Despite these barriers, the pilot achieved significant outcomes. Of 918 people assisted between March 2006 and January 2009, 560 people (61%) had a final outcome. Of this group, 370 people (66%) received a temporary or permanent visa to remain, 114 people (20%) departed independently, 37 people (7%) absconded, 33 people (6%) were removed by the Department and six people (1%) died. This equates to a 93% compliance rate and a 60% rate of independent departure amongst refused applicants. The program cost a minimum of AU$38 per day compared with a minimum of AU$125 for detention.

The government has found that: “[d]rawing on appropriate services and focusing on addressing barriers is proving a successful mix for achieving sustainable immigration outcomes.”

 

Detention Release Options

Australia has a series of ‘bridging visas,’ used to provide temporary legal status to migrants who have applied for a substantive visa or are preparing for return.

Within this system, Australia has an avenue to release detainees who are unable to depart the country due to circumstances outside their control, such as when their country of origin or regular domicile is unable or unwilling to issue travel documents. The Removal Pending Bridging Visa enables migrants who are complying with efforts to prepare for their removal to be released from detention while this preparation is completed. The visa includes the right to work, access to healthcare and basic welfare. Visa holders must assist with preparations to depart the country.

There are alternatives cover

Over the past five years, the IDC has undertaken a program of research to identify and describe a number of positive alternatives to immigration detention (‘alternatives’) that respect fundamental rights, are less expensive and are equally or more effective than traditional border controls.

This research, entitled There are alternatives, provides readers with the guidance needed to successfully avoid unnecessary detention and to ensure community options are as effective as possible.

This page was updated in September 2015