The human faces of ‘fast track’: Hashim’s story

On 21 May, immigration minister Peter Dutton announced a new and nearly impossible deadline for people seeking asylum forced into ‘Fast Track’, which immediately puts thousands of people at risk of being deported back to danger.

The complex and long process affects people who arrived by sea between 13 August 2012 and 31 December 2013, who have had to wait up to four years to apply for asylum. Recently they received letters from the government demanding that they lodge their application in as little as 30 days, or risk losing income support, Medicare and non-renewal of their bridging visa.

As of Sunday, the government is now demanding that the 7,500 remaining people submit a complex and long refugee application, 116 questions long, by the 1 October 2017. Read more on the new policy here.

One of the people affected by this new and unfair process is Hashim.

Hashim was born in Iraq and has both physical disabilities and significant mental health conditions. In his youth, he experienced severe family violence and was forced to leave home and live on the streets as a teenager. Hashim was verbally and physically abused, stolen from and exploited while living rough and eventually escaped to Australia by boat when he was 19.

Hashim was refused his application for protection because the department did not consider the harm he faced as homeless and disabled youth to be ‘serious’. His sister, who also fled to Australia, was granted protection and in an appeal to the Immigration Assessment Authority (IAA), Hashim tried to explain that her application was accepted, and his should be too. He also attempted to provide additional medical evidence but the IAA refused to consider either factor as Fast Track applicants are not permitted to present ‘new information’.

People denied refugee status do not have access to income support, welfare or Medicare and many will no longer have the right to work in Australia while they appeal.

Hashim, who is already restricted in his capacity to work by his disability, is now no longer entitled to welfare support which will force him into destitution.

Additionally, the negative decision has caused him extreme distress and Hashim is afraid that he’ll be forced to return to Iraq where he won’t have appropriate medical care or access to welfare, or even support from his sister.

Each year, the ASRC support people seeking asylum just like Hashim, by providing critical housing, healthcare, food and material aid to over 3,000 people and families.

You can help make a real difference to ensuring people like Hashim do not fall through the gap and receive timely assistance.

Please donate to our winter appeal:

  • Donate online at
  • Call 1300 692 772 (or 1300 MYASRC)
  • SMS HOPE to 0437 371 371 to make a $20 donation


A donation of just $38 will fund an appointment with a mental health social worker.

Meeting someone where they are, with the care and support required can be what gives a person seeking asylum hope.

Please donate to our appeal today.

Photo credit: Kim Cartmell

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