The Morrison Government has today announced that temporary humanitarian visas issued to Afghans who supported Australia’s mission in Afghanistan, and who remain there following the August air evacuation, will be extended on an ongoing basis.
Today’s decision provides an ongoing extension to visas issued to certified Locally Engaged Employees from the Department of Defence, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Australian Federal Police, as well as persons with other working relationships with the Australian Government and their families who were issued temporary humanitarian visas.
Over 5,600 temporary humanitarian visas were issued during the response to the Afghanistan crisis, with over 3,500 Afghan temporary humanitarian visa holders having commenced their settlement journey in Australia.
Those outside of the LEE program who were granted a temporary humanitarian visa which will expire will receive priority in Australia’s Humanitarian and Refugee intake.
Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, Alex Hawke MP said the Taliban must not impede the efforts of those wishing to leave Afghanistan.
“Australia expects the Taliban to uphold its undertakings to allow Australians and Afghan visa holders to depart Afghanistan safely if they wish to do so. We continue to work with international partners to that end,” Minister Hawke said.
People in Afghanistan who seek Australia’s protection are able to apply under our Humanitarian Program. Priority will be given to vulnerable and persecuted minorities, women and children and those who have links to Australia.
“Australia will also continue to utilise our close working relationship with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees to identify those Afghans most in need,” Minister Hawke said.
Applicants must continue meet all visa criteria for character, security and health. The safety and security of Australia remains an absolute priority of the Morrison Government in processing visas.
“The Government will continue to make announcements regarding Afghanistan and the evolving humanitarian situation in the near future,” Minister Hawke said.
“We again thank the Australian-Afghan community for their close cooperation, direct feedback and their work to assist people in crisis in Afghanistan,” he said.