What’s it like not having basic health care?

What’s it like not having basic health care?

30,000 people seeking asylum know the answer.

Most of us in Australia are lucky enough to take access to subsidised health care for granted.  However, for around 30,000 people seeking asylum in Australia, this is not the case.  

People seeking asylum have been through so much in their journey to safety. Yet when they reach Australian shores, their struggle is far from over.  Often excluded from basic support, including Medicare, our government’s policies force many into poverty and poor health while decisions are made on their visas – decisions which can take up to 11 years.  
These policies are cruel and unnecessary  

As a passionate advocate for refugees and people seeking asylum, we know you agree that change is not only needed, it’s critical. Let’s stand together to call on our government to make this simple change and extend Medicare to all people seeking asylum. 

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Nadia has to choose whether to buy medication or food for her family

Nadia* fled her home country with her three children, Nor, Aishah and Mo, almost five years ago, to escape persecution and the threat of sexual violence.   

Like tens of thousands of others seeking asylum in Australia, Nadia and her family can’t access Medicare while they are waiting a review unless and until they are granted refugee status. This has devastating consequences. Nadia has both diabetes and a serious autoimmune condition and relies on daily life-saving medications.  However, without access to Medicare, Nadia has to pay full price, making them unaffordable for her.  As such, she has started watering down her insulin, to make it last longer.  

Nadia’s ability to work has been limited by her deteriorating health, and the family are scraping by on her son’s hospitality wages. She often has to choose between paying the rent, buying food or getting her medication. In addition, her daughter Nor has been referred to a specialist for severe stomach pains, but they cannot afford to go. It’s hard to believe that this is happening in our country today. 

*Because Nadia and her family are still awaiting a decision on their protection claim, we’ve changed their names and hidden their faces to protect their identities.


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30,000 people seeking asylum can’t access Medicare

There are more than 30,000 people who have sought protection in Australia who do not have access to Medicare.  

Those seeking protection from crisis situations (such as Gaza, Sudan and Myanmar), urgently need access to mental health care. But without affordable healthcare, the help they need is out of reach.  

As the number of children and families reporting severe trauma grows, it is vital that the policies that limit access to Medicare are changed.  

Until people have safety and stability, they are unable to fully participate in the Australian community. 


Please donate today

Here’s how you can help

People who seek safety on our shores need our help to heal, so they can start rebuilding their lives in safety.  They need to be well to be able to fully participate in the protection application process and to contribute to their new society, as they desperately want to do. Yet, instead of offering these people the critical care they need, our Government is turning its back.

Your donation today will help the Refugee Council of Australia advocate to the Federal Government. We will call for all people seeking asylum to have access to Medicare while they’re waiting for their protection claim to be processed, and have greater support to be able to afford basic healthcare.

We can’t do this without help from passionate supporters like you, who care about the safety and wellbeing of people who have already endured so much. Your gift will help advocate for fairer policies, fight for fairer treatment and drive change to ensure that people seeking asylum can contribute fully to their new home.

Please donate today