Australia Increases Humanitarian Visa Cap to 20,000

ABC Australia reports that the Australian Federal government has decided to increase humanitarian intake visas to 20,000, a marked increase from the previous cap of 17,875. This development aims to address the pressing need to assist displaced individuals, particularly from Afghanistan and Sudan, who have faced substantial challenges due to ongoing conflicts and unrest in their home countries and also meet the labor shortage needs of the country.

Of the current 17,875 humanitarian places, 13,570 were allocated as part of the core program, while 4,125 places were made available for people from Afghanistan.

The places for those from Afghanistan were announced in the federal budget in the wake of  the Taliban takeover of the country upon the departure of United States forces.

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Key Points

– Australia is increasing its yearly intake of individuals through the humanitarian program from 17,875 to 20,000 individuals.
– Those who are granted entry will be provided with comprehensive assistance to facilitate their reintegration following their arrival, as outlined by the government.
– Refugee advocacy organizations have expressed their approval of this declaration.

The decision to raise the humanitarian visa intake cap signifies a return to the levels seen in 2013. Notably, the Department of Home Affairs has received calls urging a prioritization of applicants from Afghanistan and Sudan, given the dire circumstances they are facing. Unfortunately, due to security concerns, the department has currently been unable to process applications from Afghanistan.

The move to enhance the humanitarian intake cap is reminiscent of the levels established during the Labor government’s tenure in 2013. This change follows a history of fluctuations in Australia’s humanitarian intake, which was curtailed by former Prime Minister Tony Abbott in 2014 and has gradually increased in subsequent years.

In a statement released by Immigration Minister Andrew Giles, he emphasized the importance of Australia’s role in addressing the global humanitarian crisis. With millions of people forcibly displaced worldwide and a substantial number in urgent need of resettlement, Australia aims to contribute responsibly and compassionately.

Minister Giles highlighted that the responsibility goes beyond just offering refuge; robust support will be provided to ensure successful integration into Australian society and the chance to rebuild lives. He reassured that while border security remains a priority, Australia’s commitment to humanity and responsibility is equally steadfast.

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The Law Council of Australia had previously advocated for an increase in the humanitarian intake cap, with specific emphasis on Afghan and Sudanese applicants. They emphasized that these cohorts faced distinct challenges and needed targeted assistance.

The Law Council expressed concerns that some visa applications might be declined due to the complexities of processing Afghan nationals, even when they meet all other criteria for a humanitarian visa. They urged the department to explore adaptive approaches to checks and assessments given the unique circumstances in Afghanistan.

Immigration Minister Andrew Giles has yet to provide his perspective on these concerns. However, this move by the Australian government to raise the humanitarian visa intake cap demonstrates a commitment to assisting those in need during these challenging times.

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