Australian home affairs minister Peter Dutton said on Wednesday that the country is considering fast-tracking visas for white South African farmers.
He said that that his department is examining a range of methods to fast-track their path to Australia on humanitarian or other visa programmes.
According to Dutton, white farmers face “horrific circumstance” in South Africa, following reports that they are murder targets, and amid concerns of land grabs following a recent proposal for ‘land expropriation without compensation’.
“If you look at the footage and read the stories, you hear the accounts, it’s a horrific circumstance they face,” Dutton said.
The minister re-iterated his views in an radio interview with Sydney’s 2GB on Thursday, his department will explore whether local farmers can be accepted into Australia through refugee, humanitarian or other visas, including the in-country persecution visa Category.
“I think in this circumstance we do need to look at the persecution that’s taking place,” he said.
The minister said that South Africans “work hard and integrate well into Australian society”. “They contribute and make us a better country. They’re the sorts of migrants that we want to bring into our country.”
So what is the In-country Special Humanitarian visa? According to Australia’s home affairs website:
The In-country Special Humanitarian visa (subclass 201) is for you if you are living in and subject to persecution in your home country, and have not been able to leave that country to seek refuge elsewhere.
The In-country Special Humanitarian visa (subclass 201) is a permanent visa.
This is a permanent residence visa. It allows you to:
- stay in Australia indefinitely
- work and study in Australia
- enrol in Medicare, Australia’s scheme for health-related care and expenses
- access certain social security payments
- apply for Australian citizenship (after you have lived in Australia for four years)
- propose family members for permanent residence
- attend English language classes.
You might be able to get this visa if:
- you are living in your home country
- you are subject to persecution in your home country
- you have not been able to leave that country to seek refuge elsewhere.
There are no costs associated with this visa.
The Australian Government pays for:
- travel costs to Australia
- other costs before you leave for Australia, including medical examinations and cultural orientation.
If you want to travel outside Australia, you will need to get a travel document. After five years, you will need a Resident Return Visa to re-enter Australia.
Refugee and humanitarian visas
Under the Refugee and humanitarian visas, the home affairs department said that applications are aassessed against the criteria of the five subclasses of the Refugee and humanitarian (Class XB) visa.
Refugee visa (Subclass 200)
This visa is for people who are subject to persecution in their home country and are in need of resettlement. The majority of applicants who are considered under this category are identified by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and referred to the Australian Government for resettlement consideration.
In-country special humanitarian programme visa (Subclass 201)
This visa offers resettlement to people who have suffered persecution in their country of nationality or usual residence and who have not been able to leave that country to seek refuge elsewhere. It is for those living in their home country and subject to persecution in their home country.
Global special humanitarian programme visa (Subclass 202)
The Special Humanitarian Programme (SHP) visa is for people who, while not being refugees, are subject to substantial discrimination and human rights abuses in their home country. People who wish to be considered for a SHP visa must be proposed for entry by an Australian citizen or permanent resident over the age of 18, an eligible New Zealand citizen or an organisation operating in Australia.
Emergency rescue visa (Subclass 203)
This visa offers an accelerated processing arrangement for people who satisfy refugee criteria and whose lives or freedom depend on urgent resettlement. It is for those subject to persecution in their home country and assessed to be in a situation such that delays due to normal processing could put their life or freedom in danger.
Woman at risk visa (Subclass 204)
This visa is for female applicants, and their dependents, who are subject to persecution or are of concern to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), are living outside their home country without the protection of a male relative and are in danger of victimisation, harassment or serious abuse because of their gender.