There are several ways that people in Australia can help refugees and others in humanitarian need to migrate to Australia.
Who may propose an applicant?
A proposer must be one of the following:
- an Australian citizen
- an Australian permanent resident
- an Australian organisation
- an eligible New Zealand citizen.
Note: People who arrived as an Illegal Maritime Arrival on or after 13 August 2012 are not eligible to propose their family under the Humanitarian Programme.
New Zealand citizens who arrived in Australia on or after 27 February 2001 on a Special Category visa cannot qualify as an eligible New Zealand citizen and must hold a permanent residence visa in order to propose SHP applicants.
See: Fact Sheet 17 – New Zealanders in Australia
See also: General Skilled Migration Definitions
Lodging an application
A proposer is required for a person to be considered for an SHP visa.
Applications under the SHP must include an Application for an Offshore Humanitarian Visa (Form 842) and a Refugee and Special Humanitarian Proposal (Form 681).
For further information on lodging SHP visa applications
Lodging Certain Humanitarian Applications in Australia
The forms to apply for a Refugee and Humanitarian (Class XB) visa are listed below.
Form 681 (242 kB pdf) –
Refugee and Special Humanitarian Proposal
Form 842 (770 kB pdf) –
Application for an Offshore Humanitarian Visa
After an application is lodged
For information on what happens after you lodge your application.
See: After an Application is Lodged
Support is provided to all proposers to assist them to understand their responsibilities and to respond to the needs of their entrants. This support includes information and guidance on how to assist the entrant to settle in Australia, gain access to available services and obtain further assistance if required after the entrant’s arrival.
A Humanitarian Settlement Services (HSS) provider, in the proposer's state or territory, will contact the proposer after the applicant's visa application is approved. The service provider will give initial information and advise the proposer of further support that may be available.
If the proposer changes address, or their circumstances change and they are no longer able to provide support to their entrants,
they must contact their nearest departmental office immediately. This information is essential to ensure that both proposers and entrants receive the services for which they are eligible.
The Australian Government does not fund travel costs for SHP visas holders. Successful applicants or their proposer must pay for their travel to Australia. Assistance may be available under the IOM No-Interest Loan Scheme. The costs of medical and x-ray examinations are met by the Australian Government.
See: International Organization for Migration (IOM)
On arrival in Australia, the proposer is expected to assist in the settlement of the applicant⁄entrant (the applicant becomes an entrant on arrival in Australia). The proposer should:
- meet the entrant at the airport
- provide for the entrant's immediate accommodation needs
- assist the entrant to find permanent accommodation
- familiarise the entrant with services and service providers such as:
- public transport
- translating and interpreting services
- health care
- permanent housing
- employment services
Support for humanitarian visa holders
The Australian Government helps humanitarian visa holders to prepare for travel to and life in Australia and settle into the Australian community.
The Australian Cultural Orientation (AUSCO) Programme
The Australian Cultural Orientation (AUSCO) Programme is offered to humanitarian visa holders who are preparing to settle in Australia. It is delivered overseas, before the entrants begin their journey to Australia.
AUSCO is designed to provide an initial introduction to aspects of Australian life, aiming to enhance participants' settlement prospects, create realistic expectations for their life in Australia, and help them acquire information concerning Australian culture prior to arrival. It is the beginning of the settlement process.
AUSCO is available to all humanitarian visa holders over the age of five, and is delivered over five days to ensure AUSCO adequately covers all topics in sufficient detail.
See: The Australian Cultural Orientation (AUSCO) Programme
The IOM No-Interest Loan Scheme
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) No-Interest Loan Scheme provides loans to people entering Australia on a Special Humanitarian Programme (SHP) visa, or their Australian proposers, to assist with the expense of travelling to Australia.
The scheme provides loans of up to 75 per cent of the travel costs, to be repaid in full by the SHP visa holder or their proposer in an agreed time frame. As well as arranging the travel bookings, IOM provides advice and support before, during and after the person's journey to Australia.
Details of the fund and application forms are available from IOM at:
Website: International Organization for Migration (IOM)
Settling in Australia
Life in Australia book is a resource to help migrants understand Australian history, culture, society and the values we share before they sign the Australian values statement.
See: Life in Australia book
Humanitarian Settlement Services
The Department of Social Services is responsible for the Humanitarian Settlement Services (HSS) programme, which assists humanitarian entrants to settle into the community.
See: Humanitarian Settlement Services (HSS)
Immediate family of humanitarian visa holders
A proposer who meets the following criteria may propose their immediate family members for entry to Australia through the offshore Humanitarian Programme:
- holds a permanent humanitarian visa (includes Permanent Protection visas) which was granted in the last five (5) years,
- did not arrive in Australia as an Illegal Maritime Arrival on or after 13 August 2012.
See: Proposing an Immediate Family Member ('Split Family')
The Government also operates a Migration Programme for people who wish to migrate on the basis of their skills or family links to Australia.
Proposing a Refugee visa applicant
A proposer is not required for a person to be considered for the grant of a Refugee visa. However, a proposer may support a Refugee visa application. This allows a more accurate assessment to be made of the applicant’s settlement prospects in Australia.