A group of Indigenous Australians have been freed from visa limbo almost three years after a high court ruling that determined Indigenous people could not be deported from the country.

The group, some of whom were born in Papua New Guinea, have been living without basic human rights – including the ability to work, access Medicare or travel overseas – since the historic ruling in February 2020.

While they’ve now been granted special purpose visas they say they still don’t know how their citizenship claims will be resolved.

58-year-old Torres Strait Island man Daniel Gibuma was born in Papua New Guinea and spent two years in an immigration detention centre in WA after initially serving jail time for an assault charge.

He says during his time in detention his older brother, mother and his six-year-old son all died and he was unable to attend their funerals.

The Department of Home Affairs says the special purpose visas are a “temporary solution” and that the government is committed to delivering “longer-term options” for people affected by the high court decision.