Almost two months after the Taliban seized power in Kabul, more than 280 Australian citizens or permanent residents remain stranded in Afghanistan. This includes at least 129 citizens and 157 permanent residents who have registered with the Australian government.
The country has turned into a melting pot of logistical problems, made worse by the Taliban, who oversee everything. In addition, Australian Immigration have been hit with a tsunami of applications for protection within the last two months. Over 26,000 Afghans have applied to the Australian government for humanitarian visas. However, this is likely to be four times higher when you tally up applicants’ family members; therefore, around 100,000 people are seeking safety in Australia.
Given there are only 3,000 places in Australia’s humanitarian program for Afghan nationals, this represents a large deficit. While several humanitarian organisations have pressed the government to commit to at least 20,000 Afghans, there is a lack of government will or lobbying. In addition, the government has rolled back on various visa schemes in recent years and are unlikely to allow 20,000 (let alone 100,000) to relocate to Australia. This has come on the back of anti-immigrant rhetoric in recent times.
The government is working on getting Australian citizens out of Afghanistan, but note the Taliban were “increasingly interested” in those trying to leave. Unfortunately, getting out of Afghanistan remains difficult and will pose a danger for some time to come. We send our thoughts and prayers.