The Immigration Department has ordered an investigation after asylum seekers were uncovered living at a retirement home in Adelaide’s northern suburbs.
Asylum seekers on bridging visas have been rotating through the accommodation at the Harwin Retirement Village at Salisbury for six months – at taxpayers’ expense.
Some residents at the home say they have serious safety concerns, and say the facility should only be used for aged care.
The section of the building where the asylum seekers are staying is not owned by the retirement facility, but by a private developer who collects the rent, Susie Pierce.
But some of the retirement home residents live under the same roof.
“We don’t know where they come from, what their background is,” said retirement home resident Lawrie Arnold.
One of the asylum seekers told 7News the weekly rent is $85, and is paid for by the Red Cross.
When asked if he liked living there, he said: “oh like, very much like, very good.”
A village manager says the asylum seekers have set off fire alarms nine times while cooking in their rooms, sometimes at night.
“It goes off pretty regularly, yes, and it’s pretty scary when it goes off because you never really know if there’s a fire or not,” said resident Val Knight.
Residents and their families say they have been left in the dark by the retirement village management, who never told them about the new arrivals.
The Immigration Department says it is taking the concerns seriously.
“We’ve asked the Red Cross, and the building owner and manager, to investigate them as a priority, the last thing we want to do is to be upsetting local residents,” said Sandi Logan from the Immigration Department.
A village executive says he will visit the residents next week.
Building owner Susie Pierce says she will build a new kitchen within a month, but until then, cooking in the rooms will continue.