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Refugee Farhad Bandesh to fight forced resettlement after receiving letter from Department of Home Affairs

“The announced temporary protection visa changes do not relate to you, as you are not eligible for a temporary or permanent protection visa in Australia,” the letter seen by The Age lines.

The letter states Bandesh is unable to study while on a bridging visa.

Farhad Bandesh at home in Melbourne.Credit:Luis Enrique Ascui

“This does not provide you with any certainty or a settlement pathway. Resettlement in New Zealand does,” the letter reads.

Bandesh is working at a factory where they make hospital trolleys, and also does seasonal work at a vineyard.

The artist wants to challenge the government and will be seeking what legal options are available to him, but said he will not be responding to the letter.

“I left my land and my family once, and I think that’s enough,” Bandesh said.

“I thought when Labor got into power they would send a letter of apology for the tortures I endured over 10 years, not a letter telling me I need to again be moved cruelly.”

His partner, Jenell Quinsee, said it was “quite terrifying” to receive the letter and the bureaucracy around the visa was confusing.

“These conditions are so messy and arbitrary, and it’s hard to fight that,” she said.


Refugee Council of Australia boss Paul Power said it was up to an individual to make an informed decision about the best option for their future, but it was difficult to be given such a short time to respond.

“Individuals need to be in the best frame of mind, and the best frame of mind which is best for them.

“Our concern is that over nine years how these people have been treated, it has really undermined their capacity for making these decisions,” Power said.

Refugee advocate Jane Salmon, who has known Bandesh for years, was also critical of the move to relocate him.

“Farhad is contributing to industry, commerce, tax and culture. What’s not to love,” she asked.

She said the ongoing displacement of people was disgraceful, and while there was nothing wrong with New Zealand, many had managed to build lives in Australia.

The advocate said she was disappointed with the new Labor government’s response to the issue.

“They have not delivered a solution or justice for these people,” she said.

The Department of Home Affairs has been contacted for comment.

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