Are Ukrainians citizens eligible to refugee visas in light of the current war-like situation they are facing?

Feb 28, 2022 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

Are Ukrainians citizens eligible to refugee visas in light of the current war-like situation they are facing?

It seems like the world is going from one crisis to another one.

We have witnessed the horrors of the Afghanistan being taken over by Islamic State and how it sparked a wave of refugees to many countries of the world, including Australia.

Now Ukraine faces the invasion by Russia, threatening the life and freedoms of millions of its citizens.

Australia Refugee policies define a refugee as someone who ‘owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.

This new situation in Ukraine could throw millions into this definition as people might flee the country in search of safety.

Australia has currently a cap of 13,700 refugees to be accepted per year, according to the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs

Of those, 3,000 places are reserved for Afghans refugees.

Will Australia now consider reserving some of these places for Ukrainian citizens? It is a question which answer will be possibly given in the following days.

What would the options be for Ukrainian citizens?

Australia’s refugee and humanitarian program comprises two parts: offshore and onshore.

The offshore categories cover people who apply for protection from outside Australia, and who the government then agrees to resettle.

Among this group are people granted a refugee visa, including:

Subclass 200 Refugee and Humanitarian visa -permanent off-shore visa for refugees outside their home country.

Subclass 201 In-country Special Humanitarian – permanent off-shore visa for refugees inside their home country.

Subclass 202 Global Special Humanitarian – permanent off-shore visa for applicants with links to Australia who are subject to serious human rights violations

Subclass 203 Emergency Rescue – permanent off-shore visa providing emergency resettlement to applicants who are subject to persecution and face an immediate threat to their life or personal security.

The onshore category covers asylum seekers who arrive in Australia on a valid visa and are then granted permanent protection. This would include Ukrainians currently living in Australia. The visa granted in these cases is the subclass 866.

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