The Australian Government has announced that it will provide 15,000 places for Afghan nationals, through Humanitarian and Family Visa programs over four years.
On 21 January 2022, the Australian Government announced:
it will provide 15,000 places for Afghan nationals, through our Humanitarian and Family Visa programs over four years. This reflects a sustained commitment following Australia’s two decades of operations in Afghanistan.
Humanitarian and Migration Program places for Afghan nationals
This allocation includes 10,000 offshore Humanitarian Program places over four years to Afghan nationals. This number includes 5,000 places in the 2021-22 program year. This is 2,000 more than the 3,000 places announced on 18 August 2021.
Based on current trends, it is also estimated that approximately 5,000 visas will be granted to Afghan nationals within the Family stream of the Migration Program over the next four years.
Within the 10,000 places under the Humanitarian Program, 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; and
- women and girls, ethnic minorities, and LGBTQI+ and other identified minority groups.
These priority groups are in addition to the existing priorities in Australia’s offshore Humanitarian Program, which include split families, those with close ties to Australia and those with proposers residing in regional Australia.
Afghan nationals are also able to pursue other migration pathways to Australia depending on their circumstances, including through the Community Support Program, the Skilled Refugee Labour Agreement Pilot, the Family stream, and skilled visa categories. More information is provided below and at Explore visa options.
People who have already applied for an Australian visa and have not yet received a decision do not need to apply again. All on-hand and new visa applications will be processed in accordance with Government announcements and within program priorities.
We know this is a distressing time for many people, including the Australian Afghan community, and ask for patience with visa application processes.
Information for Afghan subclass 449 visa holders who are outside Australia
On 18 November 2021, the Australian Government announced that the subclass 449 visas granted to Afghans who supported Australia’s mission in Afghanistan and their families, who have not yet arrived in Australia, will be extended on an ongoing basis. This includes subclass 449 holders who are:
- certified Locally Engaged Employees of the Department of Defence, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Australian Federal Police, and
- other persons with working relationships with the Australian Government.
Subclass 449 holders that meet the criteria for extension will be notified, where possible, via email.
The Australian Government urges all people remaining in Afghanistan to prioritise their safety. People remaining in Afghanistan must carefully consider the risks should they attempt to leave by any route.
All subclass 449 visa holders will need to have their biometrics collected before travelling to Australia. Completion of biometrics collection will be a requirement for a Travel Exemption Request (TER) to enter Australia.
Subclass 449 visa holders outside Australia who do not meet the criteria for extension of their visa are able to apply for a visa under Australia’s Humanitarian Program. This group will be a processing priority.