A group of Iranian refugees began a sit-in on November 3 outside the Melbourne office of the Department of Immigration.
They are demanding permanent residency, instead of the short-term visas they are currently on.
The group said that the uprising in Iran has drawn attention to “the many injustices inflicted on the innocent Iranian people by their own government”.
Despite this, they said, “Western governments, including Australia, are not supporting Iranian refugees or their cause in the way that they should”.
Ebrahim, known to his friends as Omid, told Green Left he is on a bridging visa which he has to be renewed every six months. He fled Iran after being imprisoned and tortured by the Iranian moral police and arrived in Australia in 2013.
Omid’s wife Aline was born in Rwanda. Her family fled the genocide civil war and, after living as a refugee in several countries, she became a resident of Italy.
Aline came to Australia on a student visa. She married Omid and became pregnant. However, she had to return to Italy when her student visa expired.
Omid did not see his son for two years. This year Aline and the child were able to come to Australia on a tourist visa, but they fear renewed separation. Omid describes their situation as “a waiting game, stuck in limbo and still held in an emotional prison”.