“It was so dangerous, travelling the sea by boat … but there was no option. Staying in Afghanistan and getting killed? This was basically for survival,” he said.
He says it all has to do with his visas status, which he says has limited him to accessing his “basic human rights”.
Feeling temporary permanently
People on these visas live a life in limbo while carrying a fear of being forced to return to their country after their visa expires, according to Sangeetha Pillai, senior research associate at the UNSW Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law.
In 2018, the New York Times published an interview with Prime Minister Scott Morrison with an image of a trophy in his office of a boat that had “I stopped these” printed on it. Source: AAP / Lukas Coch
Dr Pillai described it as a “radical policy shift” strategically executed by the Coalition to send a clear message to people seeking asylum.
“The idea of there being a right way to seek asylum and a wrong way to seek asylum is a creature of Australian legislation and policy.”
‘Treated like a second-class citizen’
The Liberal Party’s campaign website said the use of TPVs “deny people smugglers a product to sell.”
Mustafa (second from right) says he feels like a second-class citizen after being refused permanent residency in Australia because he arrived by boat in 2013. Source: Supplied / Mustafa Nazari
Despite the roadblocks, Mustafa secured a scholarship at the University of Sydney while he was on a bridging visa.
“I’ve tried my best to get connected to people, but deep down psychologically, it’s impacting me. I’m uncertain that I might stay there to bond friendships,” Mustafa said.
Mustafa hasn’t seen his partner Somaya (top right) or his mother and sisters (bottom) since 2013. Source: Supplied / Mustafa Nazari
“I feel so alienated from society.”
“Levels of depression and suicidal ideation in people that are on temporary protection visas are significantly higher than for other refugees that are on permanent visas.”
The Labor promise
Dr Pillai said “both parties have been in lockstep” with staunch border policies but she is hopeful the abolition of temporary protection visas is a small step forward.
“Hopefully we get permanent residency, so finally we can call this country home and do our best to contribute back.”