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Detention visitor program closure
The immigration detention visitor program was ceased on 24 March 2020. These measures are NOT permanent and we will continually review them.
There are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 within the immigration detention network.
As community transmission of COVID-19 increases within Australia, our key focus is preventing the entry of COVID-19 to facilities.
We are committed to the health and safety of detainees and staff.
The changes are consistent with those in the community and we will continue to put in place measures in detention facilities in line with advice from the Department of Health and the broader Commonwealth response.These are being regularly reviewed.
Each detainee will receive a $20 phone credit each week to support ongoing contact with family and community groups via their personal devices. This will continue until the measures are lifted for the visits program. We understand the important role visitors play in detainees' health and wellbeing.
The decision to cease visits has been carefully considered in relation to social distancing and measures across all States and Territories around public gatherings and current health advice.
Our immigration detention facilities are for the detention of unlawful non-citizens and are not relevant to state authorised COVID-19 quarantine requirements such as those for quarantine hotels. For information regarding mandatory COVID-19 quarantine facilities please contact the relevant state authorities.
Victorian immigration detention facilities
A key focus of the Australian Border Force is to prevent the entry of COVID-19 into immigration detention facilities. It is for this reason that you can no longer drop-off (or pick-up) gifts, property and other items in-person at detention facilities in Victoria.
Detainees will continue to have access to mail/postal and other communication services.
In Victoria, our preference is that correspondence or documentation pertaining to legal advice or legal proceedings (legal documents) are delivered to detainees via email or postal services. If you are a legal representative or migration agent and there is an urgent requirement to personally deliver or serve legal documents, we may be able to facilitate this on an exceptional basis. In these exceptional circumstances, you will be required to produce your ‘Worker Permit’.
If you arrive at an Immigration Detention Facility and are suspected of breaching the Level 4 restrictions announced by the Premier of Victoria, you may be reported to the relevant authorities.
Legal representatives and Consular officials
We are asking legal representatives and detainees to use alternate means to engage including through phone calls, skype or other audio visual tools.
We can assist detainees with the use of audio-visual equipment and private rooms for phone calls in facilities where available. Your assistance with this is appreciated.
We understand the importance of detainees having contact with scrutiny bodies and the important oversight role these scrutiny bodies provide.
We are working with the Ombudsman's Office, the Red Cross and the Australian Human Rights Commission to ensure they can continue their ongoing work across detention facilities, although in a different format.
It has been observed that most religious groups are self-electing to cease visits to detention facilities as they adhere to the measures being implemented within the community.
Each detention facility has a Religious Liaison Officer (RLO) who is working with a number of religious groups to ensure alternate methods for religious observance. In some cases, pre-recorded services are being made available where a religious group does not have an alternate means to provide remote services.
In line with the health advice it has been recommended that all movements be restricted for detainees unless absolutely necessary.
All detainees continue to have ongoing access to the medical professionals located within facilities.
Detainees have access to the Health Advisory Service (HAS) for medical advice outside of onsite clinic hours. Qualified medical personnel provide medical advice.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
PPE levels are being closely monitored to ensure there is sufficient equipment to respond to COVID-19.
We are continually working closely with the service providers to ensure a coordinated response to any infectious disease outbreak.
Our Detention Health service provider works with detainees who attend clinics on COVID-19 related measures.
Suspected cases of COVID-19
If clinically indicated detainees will be tested in line with advice from health professionals and will be isolated pending test results.
Our Detention Health service provider has conducted public health awareness activities and posted information at sites on hand hygiene and other preventive measures detainees can take.