Australia’s annual humanitarian program: 3,000 Offshore humanitarian visas for citizens of Afghanistan will be allocated in the annual program with a possible increase during 2021 and 2022.
On 18 August 2021, the Australian government announced that 3,000 humanitarian visas for citizens of Afghanistan will be allocated as part of Australia’s offshore humanitarian program, which currently offers 13,750 places annually. This initial allocation, according to the government, will be increased during the duration of the 2021-22 financial year.
All Afghan nationals will receive priority under the Australian offshore humanitarian program. All applicants must still show that they are subject to substantial discrimination in their home country. The time it takes to process an application will be determined by the circumstances of each applicant, including their location and capability to provide documents or access to Australian government officials.
The Department of Home Affairs through their website, specifies the different Refugee and humanitarian visa options (homeaffairs.gov.au).
How to sponsor family from Afghanistan or a neighbouring country
If you have an Australian Permanent Resident visa or you are an Australian citizen, you can sponsor your family members under various family visa options, such as partner, child, parent etc. In addition, you need to meet various criteria of the particular visa subclass. Family Stream visas allow Australian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their family members. There are different visas which can be applied for, depending on who you want to sponsor. Please be aware that family visas can be very costly and can often take years to be finalised.
You can also potentially propose family members under the offshore humanitarian visa program. This usually applies if your family is living in a third country. Nevertheless, these applications are more likely to be successful if the person applying can show that they provided support to the Australian Defence Force or Government in Afghanistan or if the person applying is the partner (such as a wife or husband) or child of an Australian Permanent Resident or citizen.
Status of Afghan citizens currently living in Australia with a temporary visa
Depending on the legal stage of your visa process, the current situation in Afghanistan will affect your circumstances differently:
- If you have applied for a Protection Visa, which is still under consideration by the Department of Home Affairs, the Immigration Assessment Authority (IAA) or the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT), you can provide further/new information to the Department, the IAA or the AAT, about the changes in Afghanistan and how they affect you.
- If your case is at the Federal Circuit Court, Federal Court, or High Court, you can consider a ministerial intervention request to make another application for your Protection visa. Please note that ministerial intervention only occurs in exceptional circumstances.
- If you have a permanent visa and are applying for citizenship, you may be able to write to the Department to expedite processing of the application.
Please note that if you hold a temporary visa, bridging visa or do not have an Australian visa, you cannot sponsor or propose family members to come to Australia.
For further legal or immigration advice about whether your family members will be eligible for Refugee or Humanitarian or any other type of visa to come to Australia, please contact Amity Lawyers on 03 8630 2828.