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A message from the Department of Home Affairs to the Afghan Australian community - 29 March 2022

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COMMITMENT TO AFGHANISTAN INCREASED


31,500 visas for Afghan nationals

The Australian Government has announced​ that it will provide 31,500 places for Afghan nationals through the Humanitarian and Family Visa programs.

This reflects a sustained commitment following Australia’s two decades of operations in the country. This allocation includes 26,500 places for Afghan nationals within the Humanitarian Program and at least 5,000 visas within the Family stream of the Migration Program.​

This multi-year commitment is a part of the Australian Government’s commitment to playing our part in the global humanitarian response to the on-going humanitarian situation in Afghanistan. The Government understands the concerns among Afghan Australians for family and friends in Afghanistan.  We also acknowledge the continuing efforts of members of the Afghan Australian community to inform and support the Australian Government’s efforts to respond to this crisis. 

Humanitarian Program 

Humanitarian visa processing 

The Department continues to receive an unprecedented number of visa applications for Humanitarian visas. We recognise it is taking longer than normal to respond to these applications, and we appreciate your continued patience. As a result of this demand, and in support of the Government’s Afghan specific visa commitment, dedicated teams within the Department of Home Affairs have been established to undertake priority processing of visa applications for Afghan nationals.

 To ensure the Department responds to those most in need, processing priority will be given to:

  • former Locally Engaged Employees (LEE) and their immediate family members
  • subclass 449 holders (current and former) and their immediate family members
  • those with enduring links to Australia, such as Afghans who were employed by Australian non-government organisations or worked on Australian Government funded projects, and Coalition partner LEE and their immediate family who come to Australia’s attention
  • vulnerable women and children
  • persecuted ethnic minorities
  • split families
  • LGBTQI+, and
  • those with proposers residing in regional Australia.

These priorities recognise the dangerous and volatile nature of the situation in Afghanistan, acknowledge those at greatest risk, and recognise the unique and exceptional contributions made by individuals and their families to the Australian and Coalition missions in Afghanistan. 

If you have already applied for an Australian visa and have not yet received a decision you do not need to apply again. This will ensure resources are focused on processing visa applications in accordance with these priorities. 

Afghan evacuees in Australia who hold a subclass 449 visa 

All Afghan evacuees in Australia who hold a subclass 449 visa are being provided with a pathway to permanent residency. The Department is actively communicating with affected subclass 449 visa holders about the next steps in the visa application process. 

The Department is also continuing to process valid permanent visa applications made by subclass 449 visa holders before they arrived in Australia. The Department will contact applicants at the next stage of the process or if any further information is required. 

Subclass 449 holders in Australia can assist us by making sure the Department has your most up to date contact details.

Migration Program 

It is estimated that at least 5,000 visas will be granted to Afghan nationals through the Family stream of the Migration Program over the next four years. This will primarily be for partners of Australian citizens and permanent residents. 

A specialised team has been established to progress Family stream applications lodged by Afghan nationals. This will ensure a consistent, focused and intensive approach is taken to resolving outstanding applications and is expected to facilitate faster processing of complex cases.  

We also encourage Afghan nationals to explore alternate migration pathways depending on their circumstances, including family links to Australia, skills and employment opportunities. Additional visa options are available through the Community Support Program, the Skilled Refugee Labour Agreement Pilot, the Family stream, and skilled visa categories.  Information on additional pathways is available at Explore visa options

The Department will continue to provide updates via the Afghanistan Update webpage as new information becomes available. We thank you for your continuing patience and understanding as we respond to this situation.

Message in other languages available​


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