YCollab, in collaboration with Democracy in Colour, held a listening session of stories from the Migration with Dignity in South West Sydney on Saturday 9 July 2022 to hear and share stories from the community on their temporary visa experience in Australia where each group highlighted the multi-faceted issue of migration.

The issues ranged from worker exploitation as an international student, cases of domestic violence, and the financial stresses from making ends meet. Participants shared feelings of uncertainty, isolation and a lack of support when going through the arduous process of meeting the changing visa conditions.

People from different backgrounds and across different age groups bonded over their mutual understanding within their unique experiences of being on a temporary visa.

The two storytellers from Democracy in Colour, Ushant and Leila, illuminated the dual and often opposing emotions of uncertainty and stress felt by temporary visa holders as well as the complicated and confusing bureaucratic and financial hurdles they must overcome.

A participant reflected that it was heartening that connections were still possible despite language barriers.

By the end of the day, an unassuming listening session became a place of community united by the tapestry of shared experiences.

“This event much needed solidarity amongst some of our community members with some walking away with more confidence, new connections, and support,” a YCollab volunteer shared.

According to a Migration Worker Justice Initiative report, Australia currently has over 1 million temporary visa holders, including international students, employer-sponsored workers, and refugees.

A survey conducted by the Migrant Workers Centre reports that on average, it takes 5.1 years to acquire permanent residency. Furthermore, 65% of survey participants experienced wage whilst working in Australia and 1 in 4 migrant workers experienced other forms of labour exploitation.

Democracy in Colour’s Migration with Dignity campaign envisions an Australia where all migrants including permanent residents, temporary visa holders, refugees and people seeking asylum are treated with dignity and respect throughout their migration journey to settle on this content in Australia.

YCollab is a non-for-profit youth advocacy organisation that provides opportunities for young people in South West Sydney to create a positive social impact in their local communities through grassroots youth-led initiatives.

Democracy in Colour is a national racial and economic justice organisation by, and for, people of colour. The organisation runs campaigns that tackle structural racism and build the power of people of colour to shape the critical issues that affect our lives.

For more information on YCollab, please email hello@ycollab.com.au.

For more information about the Migration with Dignity campaign, please email info@democracyincolour.org.

Image Credit: Charles Gream