Refugee Legal Service Tasmania

In June 2013, a steering committee of interested persons was formed to establish the Tasmanian Refugee Legal Service (TRLS). On November 13, 2013, the Refugee Legal Service (Tas) Inc. was founded. TRLS` Board of Directors is comprised of lawyers, migration officers, law students, and other professionals with professional or volunteer experience, all of whom have a philanthropic interest in working and supporting people of refugee background, humanitarian participants, and asylum seekers. “It is necessary for these families to have ministry here. TRLS provides free legal advice to people with refugee backgrounds, humanitarian newcomers and disadvantaged asylum seekers in Tasmania. We also support victims/survivors of domestic violence with temporary visas whose visa status may be affected by domestic violence or relationship breakdown. M. O`Connor said it was a “real challenge” and that improving services in northern Tasmania was “one of their biggest priorities”.

The service`s executive director and senior counsel, Patrick O`Connor, says his client base has grown as a result of several global conflicts. “Since the Taliban`s takeover of Afghanistan, the war in Ukraine, the conflicts in Africa – particularly in Ethiopia – the demand for our services has increased significantly,” he said. One year after the Taliban came to power, demand for TRLS advice has increased by 400% and refugees in northern Tasmania are struggling to get help. Mohammadi helps his mother fill out forms and use technology, but says many refugee families struggle with a lack of personal services. Refugees struggle with lack of personal legal advice in northern Tasmania Mr Mohammadi said the service currently has more than 400 cases handled by four lawyers. TRLS will facilitate and provide a range of educational services to social workers, clients and community organizations. Our goal is both to help refugees and to educate the community about our human rights obligations towards refugees and how we can all help. Legal and immigration clinics are an integral part of the TRLS, and resources and materials are developed and distributed in accordance with changes in immigration policy and jurisprudence. Many of those who attended the Tasmanian Refugee Legal Service (TRLS) meeting came from northern Tasmania after making the hour-long journey by bus or car that morning because there was no refugee legal service in their area. Our team of lawyers and volunteers aims to support people of refugee origin, asylum seekers and humanitarian immigrants in all matters of migration law. As TRLS grows, we will continue to expand our services to meet the needs of our customers in Tasmania.

“This has always been the case since we started the service.” Both Mohammadi and O`Connor said migration officers were not an option for newcomers because they would cost them thousands of dollars. “Phone calls, checking emails: it`s quite complex for a family that doesn`t even speak English and isn`t familiar with computers and emails,” said Yousef Mohammadi, the leader of Launceston`s Hazara community. When Afghanistan fell to the Taliban in August 2021, the migrant resource centre in Hobart was flooded with Afghan Tasmanians desperately trying to ensure the safety of their loved ones trapped in the capital. O`Connor said TRLS lawyers travel to Launceston every month to see clients face-to-face. TRLS is a national organization with a single center. “There will be times when we will have the interpreter on the cell phone and hold the phone to the computer so we can talk about their case,” he said. O`Connor said it was a challenge to overcome language and technological barriers. Other than that, they succeeded through phone calls and video chats, which he said he was grateful to the community and volunteer groups for often relieving them. “It would be traumatic, only. They have so much trouble getting to the stage where they can start supporting their family members,” he said. Face-to-face has a better effect than contacting them on the phone and explaining the situation, reviewing technology, scanning documents and checking websites.

So it`s having a huge impact on the community right now,” he said. Approximately 40% of our customers are based in the North,” said O`Connor. We treat your situation with the tenderness and confidentiality it deserves. TRLS is a completely independent group of lawyers and migration officers. All personal data received by TRLS will be treated in accordance with solicitor-client privilege, relevant state and Commonwealth laws, and TRLS policies and procedures. We do this with the expertise of lawyers, law students, migration officers and volunteers. “We have over 100 clients in the northern part of the state, but one of the main problems is that we don`t have the funds to open an office there and be there every day.” If the government cannot bring their families here, then they know absolutely that they have done their best to go through the process and do everything they can to support their families.