Offshore - Resettlement

The Australian Government continues to work closely with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), international partners and community organisations to provide assistance for people displaced by the conflicts in Syria and Iraq.

For more information see Australia's response to the Syrian humanitarian crisis.


The offshore component of the Refugee and Humanitarian Program involves resettlement of people needing humanitarian assistance to Australia who do not have any other durable solution available to them.

There are two categories of visas under the offshore resettlement program:

  • Refugee category
  • Special Humanitarian Program (SHP) category

Note: The number of applications we receive for resettlement each year is far greater than available visas.

Refugee category visas

Refugee category visas are for people who are experiencing persecution in their home country, who are typically outside that country and in need of resettlement.

Am I eligible for a refugee category visa?

A person may be eligible for a refugee category visa if they:

  • Are outside Australia; and
  • Are subject to persecution in their home country.

A person who is in Australia may be eligible for a refugee category visa if an immediate family member proposes them for a visa (see Proposing an immediate family member)
SeeWho is Eligible?

Visa options

Refugee category visas include:

  • Refugee Visa (Subclass 200)
  • In-country Special Humanitarian (Subclass 201)
  • Emergency Rescue Visa (Subclass 203)
  • Woman at Risk (Subclass 204)

See: Refugee and Humanitarian Visas 

Special Humanitarian Program category visas

Special Humanitarian Program category visas are for people who are subject to substantial discrimination amounting to gross violation of their human rights in their home country. 

Am I eligible for a Special Humanitarian Program visa?

A person may be eligible for a SHP visa if they:

  • Are outside Australia
  • Are subject to substantial discrimination amounting to a gross violation of their human rights.

And are proposed for entry by:

  • An Australian citizen, or
  • An Australian permanent resident, or
  • An eligible New Zealand citizen, or
  • An organisation operating in Australia

A person can also be eligible for a Special Humanitarian Program category visa if an immediate family member who is in Australia proposes them for a visa (see Proposing an immediate family member)

See: Who is Eligible?

See: Proposing an Applicant

Visa options

Special Humanitarian Program visas include:

  • Global Special Humanitarian Program Visa (Subclass 202)

See: Refugee and Humanitarian Visas 

Community Supported visa options

The Community Support Program (CSP) allows communities within Australia to identify and support humanitarian migrants, as an alternative pathway to the Refugee and SHP streams of the Humanitarian Program.

Applications under the Community Proposal Pilot (CPP) can no longer be lodged. The Department is continuing to process CPP applications received before 30 June 2017.

All applications for a CSP visa must be proposed by an Approved Proposing Organisation (APO). The Department has appointed APOs who are responsible for securing employment, managing the visa application process and overseeing the settlement of the CSP applicant. If you wish to support a CSP entrant contact an APO.

For the list of APOs and more information, see the Community Support Program (CSP) webpage.

Proposing an Applicant

You can help a person facing human rights abuse in their home country become a permanent Australian resident.

You can propose an applicant if you are:

See: Proposing an Applicant 

Proposing an immediate family member

To propose a member of your immediate family you must:

  • Hold (or have previously held) the particular visa which you are proposing your immediately family member for (includes Permanent Protection visas and Resolution of Status visas), and
  • Not have arrived in Australia as an unauthorised Maritime Arrival on or after 13 August 2012

See: Proposing an immediate family member ('split family')

Lodging certain humanitarian applications in Australia

Important information for people who are intend to lodge an application for Refugee and Humanitarian visas with Form 681—Refugee and Special Humanitarian Proposal (proposal form).

See: Lodging certain humanitarian applications in Australia

What happens after you lodge an application?

Information for people who have lodged an application for humanitarian or refugee entry to Australia, including:

  • Initial assessment of your application
  • Interviews
  • Health requirements
  • Character requirements
  • Processing times
  • What to do if your circumstances change
  • Travelling to Australia

See: After an application is lodged

Important information for applicants