Immigration Minister Scott Morrison says the success of the Government’s border protection policies means Australia will offer to resettle 4,400 people fleeing violence in Iraq and Syria.
The places are from the existing refugee and special humanitarian programs, with 2,200 set aside for each country.
Last week, Mr Morrison announced the Government had opened its annual humanitarian refugee program to Iraqi Christians and Yazidis in response to the Iraq crisis.
He says asylum seekers who come by boat are no longer filling the places in the refugee intake.
“Our effective border protection and changes we’ve made mean we can, with certainty, guarantee and plan to take people in these distressing situations,” he said.
“They’ll have to follow all the normal processes of course: the health, security and identity checks.”
Mr Morrison says the program is open to people of all religions.
“Predominantly, we will address this program with no particular view to one’s religion but one’s state of persecution,” he said.
“It’s quite clear there are many Christians fleeing persecution in Iraq at present. Similarly there are people of other faiths who face persecution.
“We’re going to ensure our program addresses these needs.”
Under Australia’s annual program there are 13,750 places, but more than 4,000 visas are set aside to refugees who are “most in need of resettlement” due to desperate circumstances.
For further information about Australian Humanitarian Visas please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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