Case Studies

Maddocks works with Refugee Legal

By Tamsin Webster

• 04 October 2023 • 2 min read
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Maddocks works with Refugee Legal | Pro bono legal services

Refugee Legal is a not-for-profit community legal centre in Melbourne which provides pro bono legal assistance to people seeking asylum, refugees and disadvantaged migrants.

Since 2016, Maddocks lawyers and staff have volunteered for Refugee Legal across a number of clinics, including:

  • the Fast Track Clinic to assist people seeking asylum to obtain temporary visas (when this was the only option available);
  • the Afghanistan Clinic for refugees and people seeking asylum who fled Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover in 2021; and
  • the TPV Conversion Clinic to assist refugees on temporary visas to obtain permanent residency in Australia.

At these clinics, our volunteers from practice groups in Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra help people seeking asylum and refugees in various ways, including by:

  1. preparing visa applications;
  2. preparing people for interviews with the Department of Home Affairs; and
  3. providing advice on visa options available and pathways to getting asylum in Australia for people seeking asylum, as well as for family members.

2023 was a seminal year for Australia’s refugee community with an announcement by the Federal Government on 14 February 2023 that temporary protection visa holders would be entitled to apply for permanent residency in Australia after almost 10 years in limbo. This decision directly affected over 19,000 refugees in Australia who were on temporary protection visas at the time. Refugee Legal was inundated with requests for assistance following the announcement and participation of volunteers at Maddocks increased significantly to meet the challenge: 28 new volunteers signed up and together contributed over 400 hours to the newly established TPV Conversion Clinic.

The work that Maddocks’ lawyers has done through these clinics has contributed to many people, who fled their home countries due to persecution, being able to obtain permanent protection in Australia and begin to re-build their lives.

Feedback from Refugee Legal Volunteer Coordinator:

Our collaboration with Maddocks has played a vital role in the work of Refugee Legal across our TPV Conversion and Afghanistan Clinics. Following the Federal Government’s announcement earlier this year to provide a pathway to permanent residency for temporary protection visa holders, Maddocks volunteers have provided critical assistance, aiding clients with the permanent visa process. Additionally, volunteers have supported clients with our Afghanistan Clinic via family reunification applications for those impacted following the 2021 crisis in Afghanistan.

Learn more about some of the wonderful organisations we partner with as part of our pro bono practice.

By Tamsin Webster

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