Homeless Kiwi families in Australia cause resentment amongst locals

Published:  7 May at 6 PM
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The 2001 changes in Australia’s immigration policies has resulted in many New Zealand expat families becoming homeless due to their having no access to state benefits.

A homeless Kiwi community is now established in central Sydney, with the area christened Kiwi Park by disgruntled residents and workers. Few Kiwi migrants seem to have been aware of the changes in the law before they arrived in Australia, with families the hardest hit.

According to expat New Zealander Christine Adams, a worker with Sydney’s homeless families, 6 per cent of the people she’s helping are from New Zealand. Many of the arrivals had been optimistic about their new lives as immigrants, but life, she said, has been hard for them without the support of the state.

She adds that many families have five or six children, and were unable to get practical information on their prospects of work and accommodation in Australia. Many, she continued had arrived relying on verbal promises of well-paid work which came to nothing.

Adams, who works with one of the country’s largest volunteer organisations, the Wesley Mission, believes that families wishing to migrate to Australia should first save AU$5,000 per parent and AU$2,500 for each child before they apply. She is advising New Zealanders who find themselves without work and a home to simply go back to the home country, but is finding that many cannot even afford to leave.

Church food banks and emergency donation, she says, are not the answer, and stresses that those who have made a success of their new lives have researched all aspects of living and working in Australia before they came. Although migrants can claim family support payment in cases of hardship, the amounts are relatively small and housing cannot be provided.
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Comments » There is 1 comment

Andie wrote 10 years ago:

Here is a thought, just change the 2001 policy! Australians are getting full benefits when they migrate to New Zealand, its only fair that same policy applies to kiwis.

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