Click here to help the ASRC Campaign for work rights!



The Rt Hon Malcolm Fraser AC CH
Everyone should have the right to work.  This is not something that should be debated or withheld from people under the thinly veiled guise of deterrence. It is a fundamental human right that we should proudly adhere to’

Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS)
There is no justification for withholding the right to work from asylum seekers who are residing lawfully in Australia solely on the basis of their mode of arrival and the date after which they arrived. The “no advantage” test put in place by the government as a result of the Expert Panel Report is in essence a punitive measure meant to act as a deterrent to boat arrivals. The government has done exactly that the Expert Panel insisted it should not do: it has cherry-picked the recommendations of the Report, and rushed to implement punitive measures such as the withholding of work rights, while it has dragged its feet on regional initiatives to enhance protection spaces for asylum seekers and refugees in transit countries. Such punitive measures are a breach of Australia’s human rights obligations, and of the obligations taken on by a signatory of the Refugees Convention.’

Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA)
Australians have long seen a belief in fairness and decency as an important part of the national character. This belief has allowed 800,000 refugees over the past 110 years to be involved in Australia’s success. Denying asylum seekers the right to work is not only unfair, it defies common sense. Everyone, asylum seekers included, deserves the right to work, to improve their skills and to make their contribution to Australian society.

Giving asylum seekers the right to work is a no-brainer.  It’s a win-win. Giving asylum seekers the right to contribute towards a society in which they lawfully abide does right by them, and it grows an inclusive society and economy.
Sam Mclean, National Director, GetUp!

Welcome to Australia
“We believe that every human being deserves the right to contribute to their community. We believe in the positive outcomes of meaningful employment for mental health, social inclusion and physical wellbeing. We believe that people already living in Australia have the right to live in healthy communities where social harmony is encouraged and everyone can belong.
Denying anyone the right to work accelerates the erosion of social cohesion and has an immediate negative impact on community health.
Removing the right to work is certainly not in the interests of asylum seekers – and just as certainly not in Australia’s national interest.”
Brad Chilcott

Uniting Justice Australia
Asylum seekers who have left everything behind in search of safety from persecution want to build new lives for themselves. The right to work is fundamental because it’s one of the most important ways we find meaning and purpose in life. Asylum seekers are just like us – they want to build a good life for their families and make a positive contribution to society. The Government must do what is right and give back to asylum seekers to right to work.”
Rev. Elenie Poulos, National Director

Foodbank Victoria
Foodbank Victoria has a vital role in distributing food to welfare and community groups across the state. This enables these organisations to support those in our community who are struggling to put food on the table.

Foodbank Victoria has been providing food to the Asylum Seekers Resource Centre since the day it opened its doors.  We have seen that the demand for our food is always greater when asylum seekers are forced to rely on the charity of Australians rather than contribute to our country through work.

Foodbank supports asylum seekers right to work, to contribute to their community and to enjoy the dignity and respect we associate with any resident of Australia.
Foodbank Victoria CEO, Ric Benjamin

Employment, and access to appropriate, accessible and safe employment, is fundamental to the health and wellbeing of all Australians. To deny asylum seekers who have sought protection in Australia, even including those who have had their claims processed to become recognised as genuine refugees, the right to work and to be a productive member of Australian society is unduly punitive. Individuals and families seeking asylum in Australia are often in desperate fear for their lives, many having suffered trauma and torture. Adding this additional burden to this group, the vast majority of whom will become Australian citizens, is unconscionable and the antithesis of Australia’s obligations under the Refugee Convention to assist people in humanitarian need. We must take action to stop the adverse effects of this policy on the lives of asylum seekers now and into the future and on Australian society more broadly.

United Voice
As a union of workers, we believe everyone has a right to dignity through work and to contribute to our society and our community.

Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce
“The commitment of the Australian Churches Refugee Network to work rights for asylum seekers arises from the Christian vision of a community where all people, including those most vulnerable, are supported to contribute to their own wellbeing and to broader society, through meaningful employment. Labour is not simply another commodity, and workers should not have their intrinsic value as human beings measured in only economic or monetary terms. But, the right to work brings dignity to each person and encourages families and communities to flourish – and that is why we support this important campaign.”

BRASS (Brisbane Refugee & Asylum Seeker Support Network)
“Through the contact members of our network have with so many asylum seekers, we know how important the right to work is for  them.  After experiencing so much trauma, disruption and deprivation in their flight from persecution and in their time of detention, asylum seekers need work to help restore a feeling that life is returning to normal and that they are able to look after themselves.”

Catholic Justice & Peace Commission of Brisbane
“Without access to work, any human being will struggle to live with any degree of dignity.  Asylum seekers have suffered enough in their homeland and in detention centres.  They need work to live a dignified life while they wait for their application for protection to be processed.”

Asylum Seekers Centre
“We believe finding work is of utmost importance to asylum seekers.  It restores their self esteem and provides them with the financial independence they so desperately need in order to start a new life.  It also provides them with a connection to society and gives them the opportunity to contribute.”
Melanie Noden, CEO Asylum Seekers Centre

The Key of Sea
“The Key of Sea supports the ASRC’s “Right to Work” campaign because we believe that all people on our shores should be able to contribute to our society if they have the skills, energy and drive to do so.
Hard work has made Australia great. The harder we can all work, the greater we’ll all become.”

The Readings Foundation
“Asylum seekers are in particular need of support in our community. The right to work is vital and helps people in some of the most disadvantaged situations. Giving asylum seekers on bridging visas the opportunity to work lessens their dependence on society and  helps them integrate into the community.  The Readings Foundation supports the right for everyone to be able to contribute wholly in society”

Shelter SA
“The denial of the right to work will impact on the ability of asylum seekers to adequately support themselves and may ultimately lead to an increase in homelessness. “

Doutta Galla Community Health
“Doutta Galla Community Health supports the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre campaign to give asylum seeker’s the right to work. Working is an important part of having a healthly and productive life. It is important that new arrivals to Australia have the opportunity to contribute and improve our community through work and are assisted by government led employment support services to achieve this goal.”

Amnesty International Australia
Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC)
Brigidine Asylum Seeker Project (BASP)
Foundation House
Human Rights Law Centre (HRLC)
Letters for Ranjini
Asylum Seeker Project
Asylum Seeker Welcome Centre
Lentara UnitingCare
Brotherhood of St Laurence

Agora Dialogue
Carina Ford Immigration Lawyers
Surf Coast Rural Australians for Refugees
House of Welcome 
BUDDIES for refugee support
St Anthony’s Asylum Seeker Support Group 
Queenscliff Rural Australians for Refugees
Indo China Refugee Association
Australian Nursing Federation (Victorian Branch)
The Campus Refugee Rights Club Melbourne University
Humanitarian Advisory Group

Tasmanian Catholic Justice and Peace Commission
Federation of Community Legal Centres (Vic) Inc
National Association of Community Legal Centres Inc (NACLC)
Humanitarian Research Partners
Fitzroy Legal Service
Social Justice Committee – Catholic Diocese of Toowoomba
Act for Peace NCAA (National Council of Churches in Australia)
Youth Affairs Council of Victoria (YACVic)
Australian Catholic Social Justice Council
International Detention Coalition (IDC)
Mercator Lighting Pty Ltd
Outer Eastern Asylum Seekers Support Network
Green Collect
Rural Australians for Refugees (Daylesford)
Iranian Women’s Association
St Vincent de Paul Society
UCA Synod of Victoria and Tasmania
Victorian Refugee Health Network
One Health Organisation
Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU)
Scottish Refugee Council
Berry Street
Sierra Leone Australia Community of Victoria
Refugee Action Collective Sydney
Anglican Social Responsibilities Commission
Australian Red Cross
Jinja Safari
Hello Pavement
Urban Neighbours of Hope

AND 2,306 individuals and counting