More than 10,000 people displaced by the wars in Syria and Iraq have started to make a new home and life in Australia, the department of immigration has confirmed.
Australia committed to resettle an additional 12,000 people displaced by the conflicts and Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has now confirmed that all 12,000 visas have now been issues.
He said in a statement that over 10,000 have either moved or are in the process of moving with the rest doing so in the coming months.
Dutton explained that priority was given to people assessed as the most vulnerable such as persecuted minorities, women, children and families with the least prospect of ever returning safely to their homes.
He said that Australia welcomed these people who could now make a fresh start and build a safe future far from the horrors of the conflict. ‘I encourage them to enjoy all that Australia has to offer and to embrace the values that make this country great. I am sure that they will make the most of the opportunity they’ve been given,’ he added.
Dutton described the resettlement of the 12,000 refugees as another chapter in Australia’s ‘proud history of providing safe haven to the world’s most vulnerable people’, adding that the Government has overseen the largest offshore humanitarian programme in 30 years.
Looking ahead Dutton pointed out that the Government is also committed to continuing to deliver the increased level of 18,750 places from 2018/2019 onwards for refugees.
‘Australia has long been recognised as one of the best in the world when it comes to the resettlement of refugees. We are also a powerful example of how strong, secure borders are vital to ensuring a well-managed and planned migration programme,’ he added.
The intake of 12,000 refugees is over and above the 13,750 places in Australia’s annual refugee and humanitarian programme and Dutton explained that it is important that refugees are welcomed but the country needs strong border protection policies.
‘Large scale migration and resettlement isn’t possible unless the community can be assured that it is instituted in an orderly and controlled manner and that it is carried out for the benefit of all,’ Dutton said.
‘We want people to come to Australia the right way and ensure our refugee and humanitarian programme is available to support those most in need of help,’ he concluded.