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22 Nov 2021

Media releases

Government congratulated for refugee inclusion in new border arrangements

Settlement Services International (SSI) has congratulated the Australian Government for including humanitarian entrants in its further steps to reopen Australia and secure its economic recovery.

The Federal Government today announced that additional changes to Australia’s international border arrangements would come into effect on December 1.

Fully vaccinated eligible visa holders, including skilled and student cohorts, as well as humanitarian, working holiday maker and provisional family visa holders, can come to Australia without needing to apply for a travel exemption.

SSI CEO Violet Roumeliotis AM said the inclusion of humanitarian visa holders was a significant addition and would be welcomed by Australia’s multicultural community and those concerned for the welfare of people fleeing war and persecution and struggling to survive, waiting in limbo while borders were closed.

“COVID-19 has disrupted the international community’s ability to respond to the refugee crisis, including our own delivery of immigration and humanitarian programs,” she said.

“Nearly 10,000 holders of humanitarian visas accepted by Australia to resettle because of persecution, discrimination or human rights abuses have been unable to enter the country.

“In recent months, with Afghan evacuees arriving in Australia, we have seen how responsive and generous the Australian community can be to those fleeing persecution and in fear for their lives.

“It is extremely edifying that now, with Australia’s high uptake of COVID vaccinations and reopening to the world, we can again honour our broader humanitarian commitments.”

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