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Church welcomes report on temporary visas

    A Brisbane Church worker with refugees has welcomed a Queensland report looking into the plight of temporary protection visa holders (TPVs).
    The report, Temporary Protection Visa Holders in Queensland, was prepared for the State Government entity Multicultural Affairs Queensland. It was a response to criticisms from Church and community welfare agencies and state governments that they have had to fund Federal Government cutbacks in refugee aid.
    Under this system refugees arriving in Australia without visas are denied permanent residence, settlement support, job search assistance, accommodation, English lessons, family reunion rights and help from Federal Government funded welfare agencies.
    Brisbane archdiocesan Centre for Multicultural Pastoral Care director Jose Zepeda, member of the Refugee Council of Australia and a speaker at the report's launch, told The Catholic Leader that the report highllighted TPV holders' needs.
    "It's a basic responsibility of the Federal Government to help them," he said. "But it is state and local government and community groups who are helping them. There is much that is unclear to the TPVs - the situation of their families and their own legal status.
    "I'm gratefu to archdiocesan Catholics for their support. Rural communities have been very generous, providing jobs and other help."
    The St Vincent de Paul Society had given enormous help with the day-to-day care of the TPVs, he said.
Catholic Leader