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Thursday, 14 February 2013
Page: 1573

Unaccompanied Humanitarian Minor Program

(Question No. 1313)

Ms Gambaro asked the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, in writing, on 28 November 2012:

In respect of Unaccompanied Humanitarian Minors (UHMs) who have received a protection visa, by way of breakdown by month, since 1 December 2007 (a) how many have been required to relocate to a different state in order for guardianship requirements to be met, and of these UHMs, (i) how many move back to their original state/territory where they have connections or employment opportunities, and (ii) how many undertake interstate relocations without having any formal guardianship/care arrangements place.

Mr Brendan O'Connor: The answers to the honourable member's question is:

(a) Providing statistics on the number of UHMs who relocate to a different state following their protection visa grant would require manual examination of hundreds of individual files and records and would be an unreasonable diversion of resources.

Prior to the Department expanding the UHM Program into Victoria and South Australia in late 2012, the majority of UHMs without carers were settled in either Queensland or Western Australia in order for guardianship and custodianship requirements to be met. Some UHMs were already located in Western Australia and Queensland in Community Detention arrangements; for those who were not, this did require relocation. Since the program expansion, however, there are now increased settlement options available to UHMs without pre-existing carers and the necessity to relocate is significantly reduced.

(i) Prior to the aforementioned UHM Program expansion, a small proportion of UHMs have moved back to their original state/territory where they had connections or employment opportunities.

(ii) In some cases, the relocations are advised in advance which enables the relevant state welfare agency to conduct carer assessments prior to the relocation or for arrangements to be made with the Department's contracted service provider. In other cases, UHMs choose to relocate without prior notice. In these cases, liaison with the relevant state welfare agency and/or relevant service providers takes place after the move where the Department is advised of the client's new location.