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Ukrainian Australian community welcomes visa offer extension for Ukrainians displaced by Russian invasion

#StandWithUkraine
July 14,2022 242
Ukrainian Australian community welcomes visa offer extension for Ukrainians displaced by Russian invasion

Following negotiations between the Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations (AFUO), Immigration Minister Andrew Giles and the Department of Home Affairs, the deadline for Ukrainians to accept the offer of a temporary humanitarian stay has been extended to 31 July 2022.

More than 8,000 Ukrainians have applied to seek refuge in Australia on tourist visas, but without the offer of a humanitarian visa once they arrive, would have to stay in the country without access to services, the right to work, or Medicare.

“Around 3,200 displaced Ukrainians have arrived in Australia to date. We were very concerned about the plight of the remaining visa holders, who were desperate to escape the war and find safe haven in Australia,” said Mr Stefan Romaniw, AFUO Co-Chair.

The AFUO has conducted a survey with about 500 Ukrainians intending to come to Australia, to better understand their circumstances and travel difficulties.

“Some of the responses in the survey have been heartbreaking. There have been issues with passport processing, escaping occupied territories by car through shelling and mined fields, and the cost of ticket prices,” he said.

“This program is not about free entry for those who may have dreamt of coming to Australia for a better life. This program was designed to help Ukrainian women and children escape the war zones, and over time, offer the husbands and fathers who have been fighting the invasion a chance to reunite with their families in Australia,” he added.

“We are pleased the Government has listened to our concerns and extended the deadline for accepting the visa offer. We will continue to discuss next steps after 31 July with the Minister,” said Mr Romaniw.

Media Inquiries: Stefan Romaniw, Co-Chair AFUO mobile: 0419 531 255