The Administration of the Immigration and Citizenship Programs Paper

Home Affairs have released their latest paper on the Administration of the Immigration and Citizenship Programs and Crystal Press is covering this via summary below.

PART 3: Humanitarian Program

Humanitarian Program

The Government is committed to generous and flexible Humanitarian and Settlement Programs that meet Australia’s international protection obligations, and position Australia as a global leader in international resettlement efforts. The Humanitarian Program has been set to increase 20,000 places. This is the highest intake since 2012-2013.

Settlement services and reforms

The Department will consult with refugee-led and community-based organisations to redesign the settlement services in Australia to better meet the needs of the refugee communities.

Unaccompanied Humanitarian Minors

Certain children entering Australia on a Refugee or Humanitarian visa without a parent or legal guardian may be eligible to receive accommodation and support services under the Department of Home Affairs’ Unaccompanied Humanitarian Minors (UHM) Program.

There were 76 offshore Humanitarian visa grants to unaccompanied minors in 2018-19, 40 grants in 2019-20, 7 grants in 2020-21, 106 grants in 2021-22, 89 grants in 2022-2023 and less than 5 grants in 2023-24 (to 31 December 2023).

Onshore protection

While a proportion of applicants claim protection because they genuinely fear they will face serious or significant harm if returned to their home country, some applicants apply to prolong their stay in Australia. The Department has consistently refused between 80 to 90 per cent of applications for a Protection visa (PPV) since 2015-16.

Reforms

On 5 October 2023, the Australian Government announced reforms to Australia’s Protection visa system. These changes will significantly reduce processing times to finalise a Protection visa. To remove incentives for non-genuine application, the Australian Government has committed:

1.      $54 million to increase visa processing resources within the Department to significantly reduce permanent Protection (subclass 866) visa processing times.

2.      Over $58 million to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) and the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia to hear more Protection visa applications at merits and judicial review.

3.      Over $48 million to boost free legal assistance for Protection visa applicants.

Written by Ross Ahmadzai

13 Feb, 2024

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