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Episode 2: No right to work, no right to study

Photo of Zaki

If I was allowed to work, I could have paid tax, I could have paid my tuition fees with my own money. I don’t know why we weren't allowed to work, we weren’t allowed to learn English.


Why would a boy leave everyone and everything he'd ever known to run for protection? And what if, when he did, he ran right into a different political wall?

Find out how Zaki, who left Afghanistan a scared boy and arrived in Australia labelled an ‘illegal maritime arrival’, negotiated hunger, the Sydney property market and a visa that wouldn’t let him work or study in Australia, to become an award-winning student, full-time worker and community ambassador who still isn’t allowed to call himself Australian.


The voices in Temporary come alive in longform journalism – vividly illustrated by photographers and artists who themselves are refugees and people seeking asylum – on a series hub produced by UNSW’s Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law.

Temporary is hosted by Sisonke Msimang, and produced by Kara Jensen-Mackinnon and Miles Herbert, with editorial support from Lauren Martin and Miles Martignoni. Original music composed by Lama Zakharia, mixed and mastered by Ryan Pemberton, with series artwork by Matt Huynh. Temporary is a project from the UNSW Centre for Ideas and Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law co-produced with Guardian Australia, inspired by the book Refugee Rights and Policy Wrongs by Jane McAdam and Fiona Chong. Episode photo taken by Abdul Karim Hekmat.

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