“More Important than COVID-19”: Temporary Visas and Compounding Vulnerabilities for Health and Well-Being from the COVID-19 Pandemic for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Australia





temporary visas, mental health, refugee, asylum seeker, COVID-19


Refugees and asylum seekers on temporary visas typically experience interacting issues related to employment, financial precarity, and poor health and well-being. This research aimed to explore whether these issues were exacerbated by the social impacts of COVID-19. Interviews were conducted both prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic with 15 refugees and asylum seekers living in South Australia on temporary visas. While this research found that COVID-19 did lead to a range of negative health and other outcomes such as employment challenges, a key finding was the reiteration of temporary visas as a primary pathway through which refugees and asylum seekers experience heightened precarity and the associated pervasive negative health and well-being outcomes. The findings emphasize the importance of immigration and welfare policy.

Author Biographies

Moira Walsh, Flinders University

Moira Walsh is an Early Career Researcher in the Flinders Health and Medical Research Institute, Flinders University. She can be reached at moira.walsh@flinders.edu.au

Clemence Due, University of Adelaide

Clemence Due is an Associate Professor in Psychology at the University of Adelaide. She can be reached at clemence.due@adelaide.edu.au

Anna Ziersch, Flinders University

Anna Ziersch is an Associate Professor in the Flinders Health and Medical Research Institute, Flinders University. She can be reached at anna.ziersch@flinders.edu.au


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How to Cite

Walsh, M., Due, C., & Ziersch, A. (2022). “More Important than COVID-19”: Temporary Visas and Compounding Vulnerabilities for Health and Well-Being from the COVID-19 Pandemic for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Australia. Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees, 38(1), 11–26. https://doi.org/10.25071/1920-7336.40840