CAMBODIAN WORKER’S REPORT
By Heng Phang
YEARLY REPORT OF COMMUNITY SETTLEMENT SERVICE PROGRAM
FOR THE PERIOD 01-10-1999 TO 31-10-2000
Overall Comments and Assessment
The implementation of the approved work program is so far on schedule.
The immigration service needs to be broadened as the worker does not have time to sit down with the client to prepare document for an appeal to prepare letter to the Minister for Immigration to request him to exercise his power under the Migration Act 1958. As these tasks required an adequate amount of time to be properly done and has to meet a deadline as well. In addition, the worker has other specified groups to assist in order to meet the service agreement delivery performance. Therefore, clients who can’t afford immigration specialist are very disadvantaged in their appeal.
The unexpected difficulties which has affected the worker’s service agreement delivery was to complete the first milestone on 21st January where there were not much time to implement because of the public holiday, Christmas Day, New Year and Annual leave.
The second difficulty, which affected the service agreement delivery, was to hand the six monthly report and yearly report coincided with the SICMAA’s AGM report.
No adverse on unplanned impacts have been detected by the worker from the implementation of the approved work program.
Immigration and Citizenship: 160
Income support and finances: 80
Material Assistance and Emergency Relief: 37
Education and Training: 20
Learning English: 16
Accommodation and Housing: 48
Mental Health: 0
Torture / Trauma: 0
Aged Care: 0
Youth Issues: 40
Domestic Violence: 36
Settlement Information: 75
I have assisted many clients from simple cases to more complicated ones.
I have dealt with in the following areas:
Provide information about partner sponsorships, parents, age parents, child, visitor, illegal, cancellation of visa, citizenship, last remaining relatives, protection visas, student visas etc.
Give advice, completed sponsorship and appeal forms, writing on clients’ behalf in relation to the progress of their applications.
Preparing documents and giving advice to those who are invited to attend the interview, hearing at the RRT, MRT and Federal Court.
Helped clients to be released from Detention Centres.
Helped clients to change conditions of their visa to get work permit.
Helped write letters to Minster of Immigration requesting him to exercise his power under the Migration Act 1958 to grant clients a permanent residence on Humanitarian Ground.
Making Inquiries to DIMA and the Australian Embassy on behalf of clients.
The processing time for spouse case has been quicker now for applications that are regarded as bona-fide. This is good news for those who were married in Cambodia. In the past, a sponsor had to wait at least 18 months before he/she could be successfully reunited with their spouse. Almost all visitors from Cambodia have the 8503 condition with their visas. This condition bans them to apply for further stay on change their status while staying in Australia.
Due to shortage of staff, clients are encouraged to go directly to Centrelink for direct assistance. However, the number coming to SICMAA for assistance is steady. This is due to the fact that Centrelink forms are complicated and confusing. People do not want to take risks because a mistake means loosing or reducing their benefit. Sometimes, they do not know they receive the over payment because they make a mistake in the form or they do not understand the form properly.
Despite all of these problems, clients are encouraged to go directly to Centrelink for direct assistance. This would help them feel confident to make use of service providers indefinitely.
OTHER CASEWORK AND SERVICES
SICMAA is running English classes and community business employment programs. Therefore it is handy to refer them to attend English class and make appointment for them should they want employment.
In the past six months, there have been quite a significant number of Cambodians attending English classes held at SICMAA.
Gambling problem is a big concern within the Cambodian community because it affects the whole family. Children are left without supervision, teenagers who have finished school, hang around on the street because they know that their parents are not home anyway and even if they go home they do not have anything to eat.
I have implemented the two milestones on due date. My first milestone is to establish a volunteer program. The purpose of this program is to make Cambodian service available at SICMAA when the worker has to be out for meetings, seminars on outreach contacts. The second milestone is to give immigration information and form filling instruction seminars. The purpose of the program is to reduce the clients waiting time for assistance and importantly to be aware of any changes in immigration sponsoring.
I have done many home visits to families who experience domestic violence by helping them to get Intervention Orders and emergency payments.
I have visited hospitals where there are elderly patients without relatives, injured clients involved in car accidents.
I have attended Magistrate Children’s Court, Worker Relation Commission with clients when they can’t afford to have legal representatives.
I have gone with clients to DIMA, RRT, MRT, Federal Court and Detention Centre. Some clients have no transport and do not know where these places are.
I gave talks to Cambodian parents at Coomoora Primary School on drug issues and immigration issues. There were about 50 parents attending each meeting.
I have worked at SCAAB every Wednesday. This is an advantage to encourage clients to go to Springvale Legal Service, to workers within SCAAB such as Consumer worker, tenancy worker, housing worker, financial counsellor, child support worker. First clients are reluctant to go when I do not work there. However once they use the services, they keep going there without my presence.
The other mainstream services that clients are confident in using are regional DIMA, Centrelink, Department of Planning and City of Greater Dandenong.
This year, I have raised the issues of gambling, drug, children at risk and the lack of Cambodian interpreters when needed. I have been contacted by mainstream services to talk about the issues. The gambling worker is now available at SCAAB. However, the Cambodian interpreters are still the problem.
This year, I supervise two community order workers referred by Dandenong office of connection.
I organised an outing for single women with children to Phillip Island with the help of the community to provide transport and food to cover ten women and five children at no cost.
The following seminars committee meeting, the worker has been involved in order to improve mainstream service:
Migrant Advised Forum
Victoria Legal Aid – Complaints Seminar
Cambodian Leader Group
The Refugee & Immigration Legal Centre
Economic and Business Visa
Change of Status
Cambodian parents’ meeting at Coomoora Primary School
Know The Odds, Gambling Education Program
Indo-Chinese Young Offenders at Springvale Community Health Service
Cambodian Youth Association
Chinese Teo Chau Association