Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced that Australia’s humanitarian visa program will add another 5,000 places starting from 2018-19. This will take the total number of visa granted in the humanitarian program to 18,750 per year.
Speaking at the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees in New York, hosted by President Obama, Prime Minister Turnbull also announced that Australia will participate in a US led multilateral program to resettle refugees from Central America, from refugee camps in Costa Rica.
A Community Support Program will also be established for 1,000 refugees where communities and businesses can sponsor applicants and support new arrivals in the community.
Australia will also provide an extra $130 million during the next three years to further increase support for refugees and communities in key countries including Jordan, Lebanon and Pakistan.
Reaction from the ALP and Greens to the announcement was negative, with the ALP labelling the announcement as ‘a hoax’ and the Greens saying that the humanitarian program will remain under the 2012-13 figures and that it did nothing to end the detention of almost 2,000 asylum seekers being held in offshore detention at Manus Island and Nauru.
World Vision, Amnesty International Australia and Oxfam Australia all welcomed the announcement but wanted the numbers of the program to rise more substantially.
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