25 September 2022

Justice for parishioners drives protesting priest

Priest Kaveh Hassanzadeh with parishioners from Emmanuel Iranian Church at the protest in Canberra. Image: Supplied.

Kirralee Nicolle

6 September 2022

Refugees waiting for permanent visas to be approved are in a disappointing state of limbo, a Melbourne priest says.

A group of about 40 members from Emmanuel Iranian Anglican Church in Dandenong travelled to Canberra to join a Protest for Permanent Visa outside Parliament House on 6 September.

Reverend Kaveh Hassanzadeh was the priest-in-charge of the parish. He said that many refugees were left waiting for up to 10 years for a permanent visa, only to find out they had only obtained a temporary one.

Mr Hassanzadeh said this impacted on children of refugees, as they were unable to attend university due to international student fees. He also said many refugees relied on casual work for an income as their visa status prevented them from finding permanent roles. Mr Hassanzadeh said the group was getting together with the hope that things would change.

Read more: Relief for Refugees a Winner for Melbourne

“We are waiting for the new government to fulfil their promises,” he said.

“[It’s] really significant for them that I stand next to them and support them in this.”

Mr Hassanzadeh said he had been driven to attend the rally by his conviction that his presence in their struggles was significant for them.

“To be involved in their future I really need to be involved in their pain right now,” he said.

Mr Hassanzadeh said he had driven parishioners in his van overnight from Melbourne to Canberra to be there for the day and was set to drive back that evening.

He said this quick turnaround was important for those who had casual incomes to be able to work the following day.

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