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Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce

Actions for Afghanistan 

Thank you for showing your support for the people of and refugees from Afghanistan over the past month.

There is still work to be done. 

How restoring 20,000 lost refugee visas could save lives at risk in Afghanistan

After the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan in August 2021, hundreds of thousands of Australians supported calls for the Australian Government to respond generously....The Government is yet to agree... 

These numbers below tell some of the story:

Refugee and Humanitarian Program places 2019-2023
  2019-20 2020-21 2021-22 2022-23 Total
Total places in 2019-20 Budget (forward estimates) 18,750 18,750 18,750 18,750  75,000
Places removed in 2020-21 Budget   -  -5,000 -5,000  -5,000 -15,000
Visas not issued due to COVID pandemic  -5,579  -6,000*   -   - -11,579
Revised total 13,171   7,750* 13,750 13,750  48,421
Difference  -5,579 -11,000*  -5,000  -5,000 -26,579

* Estimate. Figures yet to be released 

Is the request for a special intake of 20,000 refugees from Afghanistan an unrealistic request?

Here are eight reasons why it is reasonable, necessary and worthwhile.

  1. The humanitarian need is great
  2. Australia has deep links with Afghanistan
  3. The Federal Government can restore visas recently cut from the refugee program
  4. Our resettlement response will save lives
  5. We can match the generosity of the United States and Canada
  6. Australia has done it before – and done it well
  7. We can also support refugees in other parts of the world 
  8. The Australian community is ready to help  

Read the Media Release in full: How restoring 20,000 lost refugee visas could save lives at risk in Afghanistan (30 September 2021) 

Assistance with Visa Applications

NCCA is aware that many churches and community groups are assisting people from Afghanistan in Australia with visa applications for permanent protection and humanitarian entry for their families to come to Australia. 

MPs and Senators have been inundated with requests for assistance with the visa application process and for transparency about the process and the timeline for processing applications. Keep this up! There is a growing awareness that the visa processing system is under-resourced and places vulnerable people needing protection and safety in continued danger as they hide or flee to another country whilst waiting to hear the outcome of their visa application to Australia.      

Refugee Council of Australia has prepared the Afghanistan Helpsheet with useful information if you are assisting people with visa applications :Afghanistan Helpsheet - Refugee Council of Australia

 

Actions for Afghanistan 

In the past month, over 180,000 people have signed the #ActionForAfghanistan petition, over 3000 calls have been made to politicians, over 600 people attended an online campaign briefing on Zoom, and community groups have met with multiple Ministers and other Government MPs.

This incredible display of compassion and solidarity for the people of Afghanistan is having an effect. Responses from the Government make it clear they’re hearing us loud and clear, and we’re hearing word that the Government is making plans for its response in the next two weeks.

We cannot rest here. Ramp up the pressure:

  1. Share the Facebook video  and/or Twitter video - from prominent Australians calling for an additional 20,000 humanitarian visas for those most at risk.
  2. Sign the petition so we get to 200,000 people - https://www.actionforafghanistan.com.au/ 

 Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC), the Afghanistan-Australian Advocacy Network (AAAN) and the Diaspora Advocacy Network for Afghanistan (DANA)

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