ECCV concerned about proposed closure of Dandenong Immigration Office

The Ethnic Communities’ Council of Victoria (ECCV) is concerned about the proposed closure of the Dandenong Immigration office and its potential impact on the local area, which has one of the highest migrant populations of any area within the state.

ECCV Chairperson, Eddie Micallef, said if the reports are true about the potential closure of the Dandenong Immigration Office, this is “problematic and of real concern”.

“Dandenong and the surrounding area is, and has been for a long time, a high culturally diverse area,” Mr Micallef said.

“Dandenong in particular, has people from nearly every country in the world represented in its demographic. There is a very high proportion of people who are from migrant backgrounds and who predominantly speak a language other than English at home.

“The idea that the Department is simply saying people can access Immigration Department services online, in no way acknowledges the reality of who is living in the area.

“There are many people from migrant backgrounds, and this can especially be the case with elderly migrants, who either do not have access to the Internet, or who would find navigating complex Departmental forms and regulations a completely onerous exercise.

“People in this category will often prefer to go in and actually talk to someone so they can get the best possible advice. What is being proposed takes away the personal aspect of these type of interactions.

“This seems to be one more example of how moving to the digital version of service provision can have a negative impact on certain members of the community.

“Even having the option of travelling into the City to speak face-to-face in meetings with department officials will be difficult for some, and in particular elderly people from migrant backgrounds.

“People will often need answers to what can sometimes be complex questions, and this is not something that can easily be accessed via the Internet.

“If reports of the potential closure of the Dandenong Immigration Office are true, I would ask that the Department fully evaluates the likely impact and ramifications on those people who they are wanting to serve in the local area and who are their clientele.”

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