The Australian Government has announced that it will grant temporary asylum visas to Ukrainian refugees with access to employment, education and health care, and will not set a ceiling on their admission.
The federal government says it has issued visas to nearly 5,000 Ukrainians since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, 750 of whom have so far entered Australia.
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The government says it will change their tourist visas to three-year humanitarian visas so they can work, study and access a Medicaid card.
The decision comes after activists in the Ukrainian-Australian community said the tourist visa requirement was too restrictive.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison told a news conference on Sunday that he would not impose any restrictions on the number of Ukrainian refugees in Australia at this stage.
“We are ready to respond to the demand,” Mr Morrison said, stressing that it was difficult to determine the level of demand for Australian visas in a state of war. We have not set any limits in this regard. “We will do what we have to do.”
According to the United Nations, 3.27 million Ukrainians have been displaced so far and another 6.48 million inside Ukraine.
Afghan refugees and their supporters during a rally in front of the Australian Parliament in Canberra, 9 February 2022.
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Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said the government is providing $ 450,000 directly to the Ukrainian-Australian community to help newcomers settle in the country.
“And that means that in the coming weeks, more than 5,000 of the 5,000 people we’ve announced will be getting harder and harder,” Mr Hawke said on Sunday. “And Ukrainian society will hire people to help newcomers directly.”
He added that the federal government is working with state governments to ensure that they have immediate access to hospitals and educational institutions.
“They will be taken care of, whether they need shelter or trauma,” Mr Hawke said. “And now, unfortunately, we see people who have suffered psychologically from their experiences.”