The Refugee Council of Australia stands in solidarity with the Afghan community at this time of crisis and is advocating for the Australian Government to take urgent action and do more to provide safety and leadership.
Help for people with family members in Afghanistan
The Australian Government announced that an initial 3,000 humanitarian places will be allocated to Afghan nationals within Australia’s annual program. The Department of Home Affairs has an Afghanistan Update page, which includes:
- changes to the process for updating contact details for Afghan evacuees in Australia on 449 visas (this is now an online form)
- information about free help to apply for a visa
If you need assistance and advice in making applications to bring family members, you can contact the following community legal centres:
- NSW: Refugee Advice and Casework Service (RACS) on (02) 8355 7227. You can also read their factsheets on free legal assistance for people from Afghanistan on humanitarian stay visas (also available in Farsi), and their factsheets on options for people from Afghanistan (also available in Dari).
- Victoria and Tasmania: Refugee Legal on (03) 9413 0166 (9am to 5pm Monday to Friday). You can also read their factsheets on free legal assistance for people from Afghanistan on humanitarian stay visas (also available in Dari), and their factsheets on Refugee and Humanitarian (Class XB) visas for people from Afghanistan (also available in Dari).
- ACT: Legal Aid ACT on 1300 654 314.
- Queensland: Refugee and Immigration Legal Service (RAILS) on (07) 3846 9300 or email@example.com. You can also read their factsheets or watch their videos in Dari, Pashto, Hazaraghi, or English.
- WA: Circle Green Community Legal on (08) 6148 3636 or fill out their online form or visit their office at 445 Hay St, Perth, Mon-Thurs 9.30am-12.30pm.
- SA: Legal Services Commission South Australia on (08) 8111 5539.
The Asia Pacific Network of Refugees (APNOR) has also launched an Afghan Crisis Helpline for Afghan nationals in Australia, Iran or Afghanistan. APNOR can provide emergency support items, link you with mental health counsellors and refer you for pro bono legal support. Call (+61) 1800 855 707.
The Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN), PILnet, the Asia Pacific Network of Refugees (APNOR) and AMERA International have also launched a series of legal information sheets in English and Dari for Afghans seeking legal assistance in or relocation to a number of countries.
If you have lost contact with your family members in Afghanistan, contact:
- the Australian Red Cross on their Restoring Family Links Hotline on 1800 875 199 (Monday to Friday 9am-5pm AEST), or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Take action on Afghanistan
Please email your MP now calling on them to support seven practical steps the Australian Government can take to provide safety for people from Afghanistan. You can use this form to send an email to your MP here.
Add your name to Action for Afghanistan’s open letter to the Australian government, calling for increased protection of Afghan people at serious risk.
Other ways members of the public can help
If you would like to support the Afghan community you can:
- Donate to major aid agencies providing humanitarian assistance on the ground
- The Asia Pacific Network of Refugees (APNOR) has an Emergency Appeal for Afghan women and children.
- Donate to the Refugee Council of Australia to support our advocacy for Afghan refugees.
- Donate goods to one of the organisations listed by location on our website.
Mental health support
- NSW: STARTTS provides counselling and community support services to people in NSW who have been affected by torture and trauma. Anyone can make a referral to STARTTS – service providers, doctors and other medical professionals, a family member or friend of the person or the person themselves.
- Vic: The Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture (Foundation House) provides specialised counselling and mental health support. Anyone can make a referral to Foundation House, with the consent of the person they are referring.
Photo credit: ©UNHCR/Edris Lutfi