Refugee and humanitarian

In 2017, Refugee Week is celebrated from 18 to 24 June and encompasses World Refugee Day on 20 June.

Refugee Week was established in Australia in the mid-1980s to create awareness of local, national and international issues affecting refugees and is held in June to include United Nations World Refugee Day.

This year our theme to celebrate Australia’s Humanitarian Programme is success stories of first generation humanitarian entrants. Many humanitarian entrants have reached elite sporting levels, begun successful businesses, achieved academic success and volunteered to assist people in need.

Australia’s Humanitarian Programme

Australia’s Humanitarian Programme provides resettlement for people who have suffered persecution or substantial discrimination amounting to gross violation of their human rights. Since the end of World War II Australia has resettled more than 865,000 refugees and people in humanitarian need.

Australia consistently ranks as one of the top three refugee resettlement countries each year, along with the United States and Canada.

Australia’s longstanding partnerships with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), other resettlement countries, and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) enable us to resettle many thousands of refugees and humanitarian entrants in Australia every year.

Resettlement under the Humanitarian Programme

The Humanitarian Programme will increase to 16,250 places in 2017-18, up from 13,750 places in 2016-17 and will include up to 1000 places for a Community Support Programme. The Humanitarian Programme is set to further increase to 18,750 places in 2018-19 and maintained at this level thereafter.

Australia's response to the Syrian and Iraqi humanitarian crisis

In September 2015, the Australian Government announced an extra 12,000 places available in response to the conflicts in Syria and Iraq, with a focus on vulnerable women and children and persecuted minorities.  All 12,000 additional places have been granted.

Since 1 July 2015, under both the annual Humanitarian Programme and the additional 12,000 places, a total of over 22,000 visas have been granted to people displaced by conflict in Syria and Iraq.

The new arrivals have received a warm welcome from their local communities and are receiving settlement services helping them to learn English and get the support they need to actively participate in Australian society.

You can find out how the Australian Government supports refugees by visiting the Department of Social Services website.

Additional information about Australia's role in the response to the Syrian and Iraqi humanitarian crisis is available.


Celebrate Refugee week at your workplace or communication organisation. Download our posters to get things started.

Download our Refugee week 2017 booklet (4MB PDF) which includes case studies and interesting facts about our Humanitarian Programme.


Aliir Aliir

Thumbnail picture of Aliir AliirWe wanted to live a life free of fear. We were very lucky to receive support from such a great country.
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Oula Nader

Thumbnail picture of Oula NaderI hope to have my overseas qualifications recognised in Australia and am thinking about applying to do my PhD.
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Samer Sirri

Thumbnail picture of Samer SiriOnce we got the good news I started to prepare for my medical exam in Australia.
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Bashar Giliana

Thumbnail picture of Basher GilianaWe were forced to give up a life in a country we loved, our business and our beautiful home because we knew our safety and my children’s future was priority.
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Annie Nkiere

Thumbnail picture of Annie NkiereWe had lost everything and I was excited to start building a new safe life for us filled with hope.
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Awkar Ruel

Thumbnail picture of Awker RuelAs a child I thought I’d always be a civil engineer, but in Year 11 I changed my mind and was drawn to architecture.
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Nene Manasseh

Thumbnail picture of Nene ManassehWhen we received the news that we would be moving to Australia we were very happy.
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Daniel Mubake

Thumbnail picture of Daniel MubakeWhen my mother graduated from university with a Nursing degree in Australia, it made me believe that anything is possible.
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Flora Chol

Thumbnail picture of Flora CholAll of a sudden we all got new clothes and I remember driving to the airport.
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Maxeem Georges

Thumbnail picture of Maxeem GeorgesIt felt amazing to be in Australia, we went from feeling dead to feeling alive.
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