Offshore - Resettlement

The Australian Government continues to work closely with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), international partners and community organisations to provide assistance for people displaced by the conflicts in Syria and Iraq.

For more information see Australia's response to the Syrian humanitarian crisis.

The offshore component of the Refugee and Humanitarian Programme involves resettlement of people needing humanitarian assistance to Australia who do not have any other durable solution available to them.

There are two categories of visas under the offshore resettlement programme:

  • Refugee category
  • Special Humanitarian Programme (SHP) category

Note: The number of applications we receive for resettlement each year is far greater than available visas.

Refugee category visas

Refugee category visas are for people who are experiencing persecution in their home country, who are typically outside that country and in need of resettlement.

Am I eligible for a refugee category visa?

A person may be eligible for a refugee category visa if they:

  • Are outside Australia; and
  • Are subject to persecution in their home country.

A person who is in Australia may be eligible for a refugee category visa if an immediate family member proposes them for a visa (see Proposing an immediate family member)
SeeWho is Eligible?

Visa options

Refugee category visas include:

  • Refugee Visa (Subclass 200)
  • In-country Special Humanitarian (Subclass 201)
  • Emergency Rescue Visa (Subclass 203)
  • Woman at Risk (Subclass 204)

See: Refugee and Humanitarian Visas 

Special Humanitarian Programme category visas

Special Humanitarian Programme category visas are for people who are subject to substantial discrimination amounting to gross violation of their human rights in their home country. 

Am I eligible for a Special Humanitarian Programme visa?

A person may be eligible for a SHP visa if they:

  • Are outside Australia
  • Are subject to substantial discrimination amounting to a gross violation of their human rights.

And are proposed for entry by:

  • An Australian citizen, or
  • An Australian permanent resident, or
  • An eligible New Zealand citizen, or
  • An organisation operating in Australia

A person can also be eligible for a Special Humanitarian Programme category visa if an immediate family member who is in Australia proposes them for a visa (see Proposing an immediate family member)

See: Who is Eligible?

See: Proposing an Applicant

Visa options

Special Humanitarian Programme visas include:

  • Global Special Humanitarian Programme Visa (Subclass 202)

See: Refugee and Humanitarian Visas 

Community Supported visa options

The Government has been trialling options to allow communities within Australia to identify and support individuals in humanitarian situations for entry into Australia. A Community Proposal Pilot (CPP) has been operating since 2013, with 500 places available each year within the broader Humanitarian Programme.

From 2017-18 this pilot will be transitioned to a new Community Support Programme (CSP). Applications under the CPP are no longer being accepted.

Further details of the new CSP will be announced prior to commencement on 1 July 2017.

Proposing an Applicant

You can help a person facing human rights abuse in their home country become a permanent Australian resident.

You can propose an applicant if you are:

See: Proposing an Applicant 

Proposing an immediate family member

To propose a member of your immediate family you must:

  • Hold (or have previously held) the particular visa which you are proposing your immediately family member for (includes Permanent Protection visas and Resolution of Status visas), and
  • Not have arrived in Australia as an unauthorised Maritime Arrival on or after 13 August 2012

See: Proposing an immediate family member ('split family')

Lodging certain humanitarian applications in Australia

Important information for people who are intend to lodge an application for Refugee and Humanitarian visas with Form 681—Refugee and Special Humanitarian Proposal (proposal form).

See: Lodging certain humanitarian applications in Australia

What happens after you lodge an application?

Information for people who have lodged an application for humanitarian or refugee entry to Australia, including:

  • Initial assessment of your application
  • Interviews
  • Health requirements
  • Character requirements
  • Processing times
  • What to do if your circumstances change
  • Travelling to Australia

See: After an application is lodged

Important information for applicants