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About the program

​Australia's Refugee and Humanitarian Program helps refugees and people in humanitarian need who are:

  • outside Australia (offshore), and need to resettle to Australia when they do not have any other durable solutions available; or
  • already in Australia (onshore), and who want to seek protection after arriving in Australia.

Australia has a long history of providing resettlement for refugees and others who are displaced as a result of conflict, persecution and human rights abuses.

Since the end of World War II, Australia has successfully settled more than 950,000 refugees and others in humanitarian need.

Australia is committed to compassionate and flexible Humanitarian and Settlement Programs that meet our international protection obligations, and position Australia as a global leader in international resettlement efforts.

A total of 20,000 places in Australia's 2023–24 Humanitarian Program will ensure that we can provide permanent resettlement to those most in need from around the world, and protection in Australia to those who require it.

Increasing the size of the Humanitarian Program delivers on Australia's global resettlement commitments while ensuring mechanisms are in place to advance and grow complementary pathways. This provides ongoing national economic and social benefits. 

The offshore component of the Humanitarian Program prioritises humanitarian entrants and refugees of nationalities from three major regions:

  • the Middle East, such as Iraq, Syria and Iran
  • Asia, such as Myanmar and Afghanistan
  • Africa, such as Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan.

Consistent with the approach adopted by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Australia prioritises those cohorts who are outside their home country and who have the greatest resettlement need. These include:

  • people assessed as refugees by the UNHCR and referred to Australia for resettlement
  • applicants proposed by a close family member in Australia
  • vulnerable cohorts within refugee populations, such as women and children, ethnic minorities, LGBTQI+ and other identified minority groups that are referred by UNHCR or proposed by a close family member in Australia.

We also fulfil our international obligations by offering protection to non-citizens who are already in Australia. The onshore component of the Humanitarian Program is reserved for people who arrive lawfully in Australia and engage Australia’s non-refoulement (non-return) obligations.

Individuals who wish to seek Australia’s protection, and are found to engage Australia’s non‑refoulement (non-return) obligations, may be granted protection provided they also satisfy the relevant visa criteria, which includes the health, character and security requirements that apply to all Australian visas.