After the evacuation mission has stopped Australia has not announced any specific programs or schemes for resettling Afghans. Instead the existing programs for visa applications should be used where Afghan applicants who fulfill certain criteria are prioritised.
What are the current visa application paths?
The Australian government offers 2 ways of obtaining visas: the Humanitarian Program and the Migration Program
The Humanitarian Program grants visas based on humanitarian needs and other eligibility criteria.
The Migration Program grants visas based on skills that are deemed desirable by the Australian government.
How does the Humanitarian Program work?
Afghan citizens outside Australia (including those in Afghanistan) can apply for Australia’s Humanitarian Program.
The Australian Government announced on 18 August 2021 that an initial 3,000 humanitarian places will be allocated to Afghan nationals within Australia’s annual program, which currently provides 13,750 places annually but is anticipated to increase further over the course of 2021-22.
Afghan citizens will be prioritised for processing within Australia’s offshore Humanitarian program. Applications are assessed on an individual basis with applicants required to demonstrate their humanitarian need. Immediate family of people who have been resettled under the Humanitarian Program are given highest priority.
Processing times can vary – from many months to years – based on the applicant’s circumstances. This includes their location and their ability to travel, provide documents or access Australian government officials.
Visa grants are subject to rigorous assessment, including health, character and security checks, which are normally conducted before people are granted a visa.
Humanitarian visa information is available at Refugee and humanitarian visa options
Who can apply for a humanitarian visa?
People who are outside of Australia and wish to apply for entry to Australia in 2 ways:
The Refugee visa allows visa holders to move to Australia if they are subject to persecution in their home country. These visas allow the holders and and their family to live, work and study indefinitely in Australia. The subclasses for this type of visa are:
|Subclass||For..||Eligibility Criteria (all to be met)|
|200||Refugees||– applicant is NOT in Afghanistan|
– subject to persecution
– in need of resettlement as per UNHCR
|201||In-country Special Humanitarian||– applicant is in Afghanistan|
– subject to persecution
NOTE: Only a small number of places are available under this subclass
|203||Emergency Rescue||– subject to persecution|
– urgent and compelling reasons to be resettled to Australia
NOTE: Requests for urgent assistance under this subclass are usually made on your behalf by the UNHCR
|204||Woman at Risk||– applicant is NOT in Afghanistan|
– subject to persecution or registered with the UNHCR as being “of concern”
– without the protection of a male relative
– in danger of victimisation, harassment or serious abuse
The Global Special Humanitarian visa allows visa holders to move to Australia if they face substantial discrimination or human rights abuses, and have a proposer, and stay in Australia permanently with their immediate family.
Applicants have to live outside of Afghanistan and be subject to substantial discrimination amounting to gross violation of their human rights in Afghanistan.
The main difference to the Refugee visa is that the applicant needs a “proposer” who is willing to support the application. A proposer can be an Australian citizen or permanent resident, eligible New Zealand citizen or community organisation in Australia (see community support program). The proposer is expected to assist the applicant and all dependants with costs associated with travel to Australia and initial settlement after arrival.
The proposer has to complete form 681 Refugee and Special Humanitarian Proposal which then has to be included in the visa application.
How can I apply for a humanitarian visa?
Afghan citizens can access Form 842 Application for an Offshore Humanitarian visa
What about the Migration Program?
The Migration Program grants visas on the basis of skills or relationships with family in Australia. While all applications for citizenship by descent for Afghan nationals are being treated as high priority, this process can take a very long time and therefore isn’t suitable for most Afghans wishing to leave Afghanistan unless the individual meets the requirements for the Global Talent pathway (formerly known as Distinguished Talent pathway).
The Global Talent pathway is only for highly skilled applicants who have an internationally recognised record of exceptional and outstanding achievements within the priority sectors as defined by the Australian government, eg health industries, energy, fintech, education.
More information about Global Talent visas can be found on the government home affairs website
What about Locally Engaged Employees (=local staff)?
Locally Engaged Employees (LEEs) who have been certified by their employer as being at risk of harm as a result of their employment in support of Australia’s mission in Afghanistan, are a high priority.
Those who have not met the threshold for Afghan LEE certification but who have a connection with Australia will also be prioritised under the Humanitarian Program. This includes extended family members of Afghan LEEs already settled in Australia.
Afghan LEEs and their immediate family members with valid Australian visas are also automatically exempt from Australia’s travel restrictions.
What if I have difficulties accessing communications/the internet or filling in the forms?
If you are having difficulty accessing communications to apply, another person can apply on your behalf:
- their proposer
- a close family member
- a parliamentarian
- a member of a diplomatic mission
- a member of a consular post
- a member of an international organisations
- a registered migration agent
- or a legal practitioner.
If you would like to appoint someone to apply on your behalf, you will need to complete Form 956 Appointment of a registered migration agent, legal practitioner or exempt person.
Can I come to Australia first and then apply for a visa?
Foreign nationals, including from Afghanistan, need a valid visa to enter Australia. People will not be able to settle in Australia if they arrive illegally.
I am already in Australia on a temporary visa – can I apply for a different visa?
Afghan visa holders currently in Australia will not be asked to return to Afghanistan while their security is at risk. Afghan citizens currently in Australia on temporary visas will be supported by the Australian Government.
Afghan citizens who meet the requirements for a visa under the Humanitarian Program and wish to seek Australia’s assistance are strongly encouraged to make an application.
Can I fast-track a humanitarian visa application? How much does it cost?
The Department of Home Affairs does not charge a fee to fast-track a humanitarian visa.
There are registered migration agents and legal practitioners who work for non-commercial organisations in Australia that do not charge a fee for their services.
Click on the ‘Non-commercial organisation’ box if you require a service that does not charge a fee: Search for registered migration agents.
Can Temporary Protection Visa (TPV) /Safe Haven Enterprise Visa (SHEV) visa holders propose relatives?
TPV and SHEV holders are not eligible to propose relatives through the Humanitarian Program.
As an Australian how can I help?
You can support one of the organisations/NGOs by donating or volunteering.
You can act as a “proposer” for a Global Special Humanitarian visa (see above).
Australian community organisations, families and individuals can use the Community Support Program (CSP) to help people in humanitarian need settle in Australia. You can provide your own support or cooperate with other supporters and help people you already know or be matched to someone in need. You will get help from Approved Proposing Organisations (APOs) – more information about the Community Support Program can be found here.
- Australian Government – Department of Home Affairs
- If you are in Afghanistan, or you are an Afghan national, and need to enquire about a visa or citizenship application contact +61 2 6196 0196.
If you know of any other programs, schemes, NGOs etc that should be mentioned please leave a comment of contact us.
Thank you to LF for her help in finding this information.