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A message from the Department of Home Affairs to the Afghan Australian community

​​​​Thank you to the Afghan community leaders who attended the recent community roundtables with the Hon. Alex Hawke MP, Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs; and the Hon Jason Wood MP, Assistant Minister for Customs, Community Safety and Multicultural Affairs.

The situation on the ground in Afghanistan remains unstable. The Australian Government understands the concerns you have for your family and friends in Afghanistan and acknowledges the tremendous distress that the on-going situation in Afghanistan will be causing you.

The Department is receiving very high numbers of humanitarian visa applications and it is taking longer than normal for applications to be formally acknowledged and processed.

The Government is looking at all possible avenues to ensure that visa options through Australia’s long-standing Humanitarian and Migration Programs continue to be available to all Afghan nationals, both within Afghanistan and in other countries. The highest processing priority is being provided to applications from Afghanistan, with all applications assessed according to their individual circumstances.

The Government remains committed to supporting the successful settlement of those who were evacuated from Afghanistan, as well as those who will arrive in the future, with the Government’s recently announced $27.1 million Afghan settlement package designed to support the specific needs of the recently-arrived Afghan evacuees.

The package involves:

  • $8 million in grant funding to support community led organisations to deliver grassroots and personalised support to the arrivals.
  • $6.4 million in funding to increase legal assistance and support subclass 449 visa holders to transition onto permanent visa pathways.
  • $4.8 million in funding toward employment coaching and mentoring to skilled evacuees to support them as they navigate skills recognition, education pathways and secure suitable employment.
  • $7.9 million to increase availability and capacity of specialist services to provide assistance to those in need of trauma and torture mental health support.

This package will be delivered in partnership with community organisations and service providers as quickly as possible. Further information on how to access each element of the package will provided as soon as it becomes available.

Sadly, we have received reports of unscrupulous operators approaching the Afghan Australian community claiming to be accredited migration agents and charging exorbitant fees to supposedly fast track and guarantee visas. Paying large sums of money for applications to be lodged is unnecessary and will not improve the prospect of having a visa approved.

Migration agents and others cannot guarantee visas. Please note that, in Australia, to be able to provide migration advice, a person must be a lawyer or a registered migration agent. Migration agents’ registration details can be checked at www.mara.gov.au. We urge you not to engage with anyone claiming to be a migration agent that is not registered.

There are registered migration agents and legal practitioners who work for non-commercial organisations in Australia that do not charge a legal fee for their services. To find who can help you with your visa application go to: Who can help you with your application?

The Department of Home Affairs will be in contact with Afghan subclass 449 visa holders in Australia about the permanent residence options available to them and where they can access the free legal services being funded via the recently announced legal service funding, as a part of the Afghan settlement package.

The Government thanks you for your patience and understanding and asks that you continue to liaise with community leaders and the Department of Home Affairs to receive accurate information about the Government’s response.

The Government will maintain an open dialogue with the Afghan Australian community and we encourage you to continue to engage with the Department through the Community Liaison networks in your State or Territory.