Australia opens more places for Afghan refugees

Afghan evacuees arrive at Australia

The Australian Government will provide at least 15,000 places for Afghan nationals through its humanitarian and family visa program over the next four years. Source: SBS News.

However, advocacy groups have labelled Friday’s announcement “misleading”, saying it is a commitment within existing quotas and not additional places.

In a statement, Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said this “increased allocation” includes 10,000 places for Afghan nationals within Australia’s existing humanitarian visa program and at least 5000 visas within the family stream.

Mr Hawke said there has been an “unprecedented” number of visa applications from Afghanistan, with the Department of Home Affairs receiving more than 32,500 applications for the humanitarian program, on behalf of more than 145,000 individuals.

The announcement follows the initial allocation of 3000 places last August.

It came just hours after the release of a parliamentary report that laid bare the flaws in Australia’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, detailing how communication failures and shortsighted planning contributed to Afghans in need being left behind.

Among its eight recommendations, the report stated the Government must continue to exert “all available effort” to finalising visa applications for Afghans who served with Australian troops.

The announcement has been met with some criticism, with Sarah Dale, Principal Solicitor at the Refugee Advice and Casework Service (RACS), calling it “disingenuous” and “misleading” in that it doesn’t create any additional places in the humanitarian program.

Christian leaders, as part of the Christians United for Afghanistan campaign, are also urging Australians to “not be fooled” by the federal Government’s announcement, with Micah Australia director Reverend Tim Costello saying the Government's “inadequate humanitarian response is a stain on our nation”.

FULL STORY

Australia to allocate 15,000 places for Afghans in humanitarian and family visa program (SBS News)

Australia opens more places for Afghan refugees after scathing report (Sydney Morning Herald

RELATRED COVERAGE

Increase Afghan intake, Archbishop Coleridge urges PM (ACBC Media Blog)

The Online Mass

home-video-thumbnail

From Parish of Our Lady of The Way, North Sydney & Lavender Bay. The first Mass of the day on YouTube.
Mass on Demand donate

Daily Prayer

Daily Prayer

All your daily readings, reflections and prayers can be found here... 

view