Iraqi refugee's 'huge risk' for better life in Warwick Farm

"DON'T forget that we are human beings too." This is the message an Iraqi refugee who came to Australia by boat and now lives in Warwick Farm wants to add to the asylum seeker debate.

Mishaal Al Gorani left Iraq in July, 2012, flew to Malaysia, then on to Indonesia where he negotiated boat passage with a people smuggler before getting on to a boat to Christmas Island.

He was detained at Curtin Detention Centre in Western Australia for four months, but considers himself lucky.

"There were people there that had been there for up to two years," Mr Al Gorani said.

"It was a prison. We all took this huge risk coming here by boat to find safety and peace and we ended up in a prison.

"It's very tough for people in there because there is no certainty about the future; it's a very difficult environment, psychologically."

He said that while he felt welcome in Australia and no one had treated him badly, he thought most people didn't understand the choices asylum seekers were forced to make.

"Coming here was a huge risk and I did it for my family, so they could have a better life."

The former taxi driver is married and has a four-year-old daughter and two-year-old son who are all still living in Iraq. He said that he was struggling to survive without them.

He has had his refugee status confirmed and is now a permanent resident, but won't be able to bring his family to Australia until he is a citizen.

"I wish people would put themselves in my shoes. I sold everything to come here so my family could be safe and now I'm without them and they are still living in a dangerous area in Iraq."

However, despite this, the 26-year-old said he understood why the Australian Government had taken such a tough stance against asylum seekers.

"I understand that they don't know me. I didn't have any documents with me — they need to make sure that I'm OK.

"And this is the law of this country and I respect that.

"But if they have recognised me as a refugee I don't understand why I can't bring my family here."

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