Australian government must grant permanent visas and increase refugee intake

Refugee Action Coalition

MEDIA RELEASE 16/08/2021


The Refugee Action Coalition has rejected Prime Minister Morrison’s statement that Australia’s humanitarian refugee intake will be left at 13,750, even if increased numbers of Afghan refugees are accepted.

Photo credit: SBS News/Peta Doherty Link


The humanitarian intake is at a disgraceful historic low. The Refugee Action Coalition is calling for the Morrison government to establish a special category for Afghan refugees to at least match Canada’s announced intake of 20,000. Australia’s intake should include all those Afghan stranded in Indonesia because of the Australian government ban on accepting UNHCR refugees from Indonesia.


“Australia’s obligation to Afghan asylum seekers and refugees is much greater than Canada’s,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.


“Morrison, himself, and the Coalition government has a special responsibility for the fact that so many families of refugees have been left at serious risk of harm. In 2013, as Immigration Minister, Morrison introduced Direction 80 that placed the families of refugees who arrived by boat ‘at the lowest priority.’


“This was made even worse with the re-introduction of temporary protection visas in December 2014 for refugees who arrived by boat. Combined with Direction 80, the family reunion applications of thousands of Afghan refugees have never been processed.”


“We are calling for all Afghan refugees and asylum seekers on temporary protection or bridging visas to be granted permanent visas, and for immediate arrangements to be made to bring their families to Australia,” said Rintoul


“Afghan refugees and asylum seekers in detention must be released. There also needs to be a re-assessment of all those previously denied protection visas. Many Afghans were denied refugee status on the basis that they could resettle safely in Kabul. That was always a shocking abuse of the refugee convention and a blatant political decision to deny protection to those that needed it; that travesty must be overturned.


“Many Afghan refugees and asylum seekers are among the frontline workers who were denied JobSeeker and JobKeeper and other income support during the pandemic. The Afghan crisis has exposed the deep-seated problems with the Coalition’s suite of anti-refugee policies.


“Morrison’s offer to increase the number of Afghans within the current intake number is pathetic.”


For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713.