Demand for visas from Afghan citizens seeking Australian protection surges to over 211,000

Of the more than 211,100 people seeking asylum in Australia, only 6,000 humanitarian permanent visas have been granted to Afghan nationals fleeing their homeland.
Nearly half of the applicants are still waiting for their applications to be considered.
The new figures show that demand for visas from Afghans has continued to surge since the Taliban took the capital Kabul last August.
Immigration Minister Andrew Giles said in an exclusive interview with SBS News that the visa application was “totally unprecedented” and that his government now has the responsibility to deal with requests from Afghan citizens seeking asylum. said.
“The demand for protection is overwhelming,” he told SBS News.
“My focus is to do everything I can to help people escape persecution and seek help.”
New figures show that between 15 August 2021 and 31 July 2022, 5,929 permanent humanitarian visas have been granted to Afghan citizens.
As of August 5, 47,912 applications (including an estimated 211,122 applicants) had been submitted since the Taliban came to power.
Morrison’s previous government pledged to provide 31,500 humanitarian aid and family visas to Afghan citizens over four years, backed by the new government.
Giles says huge resources are being diverted to the task, but new government data reveals the reality of the long wait times applicants face.
More than 40% of applications from Afghan citizens have not yet been registered in the Home Office’s computerized system.
This figure shows that 57.4% or 108,351 applicants were registered through this process.

The department is currently registering applications received on September 21, 2021.

The figure shows the percentage of applications from Afghan nationals registered in the Ministry of Interior system. sauce: SBS News / Karin Chow Chen.

Nahid Ali, a Sydney-based nurse, is among those trying to flee Afghanistan with her family.

She recently learned that a family member whose identity was being protected for security reasons had been kidnapped and murdered by the Taliban.
“To be honest, there are no words that I can describe [this]” she told SBS News.

“We’ve been trying to figure out where this is and what happened, but sadly we found the bodies of this family.”

Nasyid Ali talking inside

Nasheed Ali told SBS News. sauce: SBS News

Her family was forced to go into hiding as they waited for visas to be considered after the Taliban takeover, she said.

In one application, Ali said the family had not even received confirmation of the department that received the application.
“They are in jeopardy because of their work with the previous administration,” she said.
“It’s sad, it’s frustrating, it’s scary because you never know what’s going to happen.

“We live in peace, but when I see what’s happening to my family, it affects me.”

‘Hundreds of resources’ diverted to processing delays

The government said the demand for humanitarian visas is so high that it is taking longer than usual to process applications.
Giles said a task force was also set up to focus on the resettlement of Afghan nationals to Australia to assist with the processing effort.

“This issue is such a high priority for the government that we are devoting enormous resources to it,” Giles said.

Australia has conducted an emergency evacuation mission to Kabul in the days after the Taliban ousted the former government of Afghanistan.
More than 4,100 people have been evacuated in 32 relief flights conducted by Australian military personnel and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The response included the issuance of emergency 449 temporary humanitarian visas to Afghans who had served in the Australian Armed Forces.
Since August 2021, over 7,000 subclass 449 visas have been issued to Afghan citizens.
Of this category, about 4,000 Afghans who arrived in Australia on 449 visas were granted permanent visas to live in Australia.
Last November, a ministerial decision was also taken to extend temporary 449 visas, normally valid for only three months, by 12 months.
But a Senate inquiry conducted in Afghanistan last April in Australia’s response gave the Interior Ministry.
The Albanian government claims that former local employees (LEEs) and their immediate family members are eligible for visa priority.
“We are prioritizing employees who work locally,” Giles said.
“People who have helped Australians in the 20 years we have been involved are our top priority.”
The government said its visa response will also prioritize women and girls, minorities and other identified minority groups considered at risk of persecution.
The United Nations has warned that people in Afghanistan, especially women and girls, have been disenfranchised since the Taliban takeover.
The Taliban promised amnesty for those associated with previous governments and international powers, and tolerance and inclusiveness for women and ethnic minorities.
However, the group renewed restrictions on women and appointed an all-male government.These actions were met with disappointment by the international community.

The United Nations also documented reports of extrajudicial killings and said human rights defenders and media personnel faced intimidation and harassment.

Demand for visas from Afghan citizens seeking Australian protection surges to over 211,000

Source link Demand for visas from Afghan citizens seeking Australian protection surges to over 211,000

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