History | Aims | Networks | Activities
RACS works in an ever-changing environment in terms of refugee policy
and the numbers of arrivals. It is difficult to predict the future of
refugee determination in Australia. One can never know, in a given
year, how many asylum seekers will journey towards Australia
nor how many of these will enter the Australian migration zone.
In its activities and concerns, RACS embraces the international, national and local levels.
RACS derives its mandate from the United Nations Convention (1951) and Protocol (1967) Relating to the Status of Refugees.
RACS continues to play a significant role in the development of
national policy on refugee law and procedure through its participation
in a broad range of activities. This includes participation and
advocacy at the Department of Immigration and Citizenship(DIAC)and
Refugee Review Tribunal (RRT) liaison meetings. In addition, we have
also made written and oral submissions to the Senate Legal and
Constitutional References Committee, as well as providing regular
submissions to DIAC.
NSW/ ACT Level
The focus of RACS work has continued to be. to assist asylum seekers,
with the direct provision of advice and casework assistance to asylum
seekers both in the community and in immigration detention.
- Expert legal advice, case management and representation for
people applying for a Protection Visa (refugee status) to remain in
At any one time, RACS is typically providing comprehensive legal
assistance to approximately 200 asylum seekers. This may involve
protection visa application assistance, representation at the Refugee
Review Tribunal, assistance at Department of Immigration interviews,
and/or requests for ministerial intervention.
- Referrals for counselling and assistance with related social welfare issues.
Matters on which we provide referral-assistance include accommodation,
Medicare, employment, torture and trauma counselling and language
- Training sessions on refugee law, policy and procedure for organisations and individuals assisting asylum seekers.
- Community briefing sessions for refugee communities, and organisations and individuals assisting asylum seekers.
These sessions are designed to empower asylum seekers and refugees, and
those individuals and groups assisting them. The last two years have
been a critical time for refugees on temporary protection visas. RACS,
in collaboration with other agencies, has conducted many community
information sessions for the large population of asylum seekers and
refugees in NSW, increasing access to justice and knowledge of the
upcoming departmental procedures. These sessions play an important role
in addressing the fear, anxiety and uncertainty experienced by this
- An evening advice service on Mondays, staffed by full-time and volunteer solicitors and migration agents.
On average, 32 asylum seekers access this assistance each month.
- A telephone advice service.
- Assistance in matters related to Protection Visas and referrals to other agencies or lawyers where appropriate.
RACS can provide referrals for asylum seekers to lawyers willing to provide pro bono assistance for Judicial review appeals.
- RACS hosts solicitors seconded from large private firms to work at RACS as refugee caseworkers.
In this way, RACS boosts the number of legal professionals
available to assist asylum seekers, and increases the legal professions
understanding of refugee law and awareness of asylum seekers needs.
- Strategic judicial review litigation.
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