Arrived, Yet In-between: Experiences of Iranian Asylum-Seeker Women Living with Insecure Residency in Australia

Publication Name

Journal of International Migration and Integration


The plight of asylum seekers is a politically contested issue in Australia. Iranian women have been the largest number of asylum-seekers/Many have bridging visas without secure residency status. Prolonged insecure residency may contribute to less integration and psychological dysfunction. This study aimed to better understand the psychosocial ramifications of living with insecure residency among Iranian asylum-seeker women in the Australian community. A qualitative study using semi-structured interviews was undertaken between February and December 2015, with Iranian asylum-seeker women who had been living in Australia for 2–3 years. Data were analysed using thematic analysis. Seventeen participants described their experiences and perspectives describing socio-economic ramifications and fear of deportation and feelings of hopelessness associated with their insecure residency status. Poor integration into Australian communities and high levels of psychosocial burdens were commonly described. Protracted protection visa processing time has negative effects on asylum seekers’ health. Policymakers should consider the psychosocial impact of restrictions attached to bridging visas. In addition to lifting barriers that slow the protection visa process, identifying the pre-resettlement skills of asylum seekers may facilitate better settlement and mental well-being.

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