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Resettlement and complementary pathways to Australia

There are a number of ways that people who have been found to be refugees in another country can come to Australia.


Australia has granted permanent visas to refugees through a formal offshore resettlement program since the 1970s. Most refugees who are resettled through this program are referred by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to the Australian Government, which decides who to accept based on different considerations and priorities.

Read more: Refugee visas 

Refugees living in other countries can also be sponsored for a Special Humanitarian Program visa (visa subclass 202) if they have a proposer in Australia and meet certain eligibility requirements. 

Read more: Special Humanitarian Program

The number of Refugee or Special Humanitarian Program visas granted each year is decided by the Australian Government. The Australian Government also decides which countries and cases will be prioritised on an annual basis.

Read more: Australia’s Refugee and Humanitarian Program

Complementary pathways

Complementary pathways are other migration solutions that can provide additional pathways or capacities to provide long-term safety to refugees, beyond government-assisted resettlement.

Examples of complementary pathways include labour mobility programs, education pathways, family reunion and community sponsorship programs.

Australia has established or is piloting several complementary migration pathways for refugees and others in humanitarian need.

Read more: Complementary pathways for refugees: Policy principles

Community Refugee Integration and Settlement Pilot

The Community Refugee Integration and Settlement Pilot (CRISP) is a community sponsorship program that began in 2022 and makes it possible for community members in Australia to support a refugee household to come to Australia and assist them in their settlement journey.

This pilot is being led by Community Refugee Sponsorship Australia, and you can find the most up-to-date information on their website.

Who can come under the CRISP Program?

The CRISP Program is only available to refugees who:

  • have been granted a refugee (200, 201, 204 subclass) visa by the Australian Government through referral from UNHCR
  • do not have family links in Australia. 

Who can sponsor refugees under CRISP?

Under CRISP, a Community Supporter Group (CSG) is a group of five or more Australian adults who agree to provide settlement support to refugees who have already been accepted by Australia for resettlement. Community Refugee Sponsorship Australia has been contracted to train and support these groups, including connecting CSGs to a refugee household.

How much does the program cost?

The program does not cost anything, but CSGs are expected to raise funds to support new arrivals for their first 12 months in Australia. Refugee households supported under CRISP will have access to income support and most government services on arrival. The financial commitment of CSGs can range from $5,000 to $25,000, depending on the size and composition of the refugee household a group is matched with.

On average, groups are budgeting to raise around $12,000. Most groups have been able to source some of the required resources as donations (such as donated temporary accommodation and/or household items).

What support do refugees get through CRISP?

Refugee households supported through CRISP are eligible for many of the same supports as other Refugee visa holders: government assisted passage to Australia, income support, access to Specialised Intensive Services (if needed) and Settlement Engagement and Transition Support Services.

Under CRISP, CSGs instead of government-funded service providers are responsible for most of the support usually provided through the Humanitarian Settlement Program. This includes: temporary accommodation on arrival, support to find longer term housing, basic household goods package, case management, support with essential registrations and orientation.

How many places are there?

The CRISP Program aims to support 1500 refugees to settle in Australia between 2022 and 2025. 

Is this additional to the Humanitarian Program?

No. The CRiSP Program is currently within the existing Humanitarian Program allocation (20,000 people for 2023-24).

Read more

Community Support Program

The Community Support Program (CSP) enables families, individuals, communities and businesses to propose humanitarian visa applicants with employment prospects for resettlement in Australia.

Who can come under the program?

Applicants must satisfy the following criteria:

  • all requirements to be granted a Global Special Humanitarian (subclass 202) visa
  • are aged between 18 and 50
  • have an offer of employment (or a pathway that leads to employment)
  • from a priority resettlement cohort, as determined by the Australian Department of Home Affairs

Who can propose applicants?

Australian proposers could be relatives, community organisations, businesses or registered charities who enter into an arrangement to support the applicants and usually finance the costs of settlement. They would provide support in the following ways:

  • setting up employment pathways for applicant
  • providing settlement support for 12 months or otherwise paying for this service
  • providing an Assurance of Support (AoS).

Approved Proposing Organisations (APOs) under the CSP help people to propose individuals in humanitarian situations overseas for resettlement through the Program. They also oversee the settlement support that the proposer provides.

How much does the CSP cost?

Application charges for the CSP include

  • APO fees, approximately $7,000 – $15,000
  • Visa application fees, approximately $7,800
  • Settlement fees, approximately $3,000
  • Airfares, medical checks and other travel costs.

What support will they get?

Under the CSP, the proposer is responsible for providing settlement support for the first year, or otherwise paying for a settlement organisation to provide it. Proposers are also expected to cover all expenses for the first year. If new arrivals need to access social security (i.e., Centrelink), this will be taken out of the Assurance of Support provided by the proposer.

How many places are there?

In 2023-24, the CSP program is expected to support 1500 people to settle in Australia. The program is currently oversubscribed and many APOs are not accepting applications.

Is this additional to the Humanitarian Program?

No. The CSP is currently within the existing Humanitarian Program allocation (20,000 people for 2023-24). As such, places within the CSP are not in addition to the Humanitarian Program.

Read more

Skilled Refugee Labour Agreement Pilot

The Skilled Refugee Labour Agreement Pilot (SRLAP) is a labour mobility pathway for refugees sponsored by an employer in Australia under the skilled migration program.

SRLAP removes many of the barriers that refugees and other forcibly displaced people face when trying to access employer-sponsored skilled migration pathways. It makes it easier for employers in Australia to hire refugees with the skills they need.

The SRLAP is facilitated by Talent Beyond Boundaries (TBB).

How does the pilot work?

Employers endorsed by TBB can access the pilot program by entering into a company-specific labour agreement with the Department of Home Affairs. The labour agreement allows employers to sponsor a TBB-endorsed refugee or displaced person for one of the following visas:

  • Subclass 186 (Employer Nominated Scheme)
  • Subclass 494 (Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional)
  • Subclass 482 (Temporary Skills Shortage)

What support and concessions are available to refugees?

In order to support refugees accessing the skilled migration program, the SRLAP provides a number of concessions, including:

  • Waiver of skills assessments
  • Waiver of requirement to have proof of minimum years of work experience
  • Reduction of minimum English language requirements to ‘Functional English’ (equivalent to an IELTS score of 4.5)
  • Increase in the age requirements allowing sponsorship of people up to 55 years old
  • Flexible arrangements for candidates without valid travel documents or ID papers (similar to those offered to resettled refugees)
  • Flexible arrangements for candidates unable to secure a police check due to protection concerns

The Department of Home Affairs has approved over 900 occupations that can be sponsored under the labour agreement.

With TBB’s support, employers themselves are able to assess a refugee candidate’s skills and experience to determine whether they are suitable to work in Australia under this pilot.

Who can employers sponsor?

Employers can sponsor refugees or displaced people who have been endorsed by TBB. TBB will identify potential candidates from their Talent Catalog and, working with Refugee Talent, will support employers through the remote recruitment process.

How much does it cost employers to hire through this pilot?

The cost to employers is in line with any international hire, and is comprised mostly of:

  • Visa application and associated charges;
  • Immigration legal fees (for assistance with the visa process); and
  • General relocation costs such as flights and temporary accommodation upon arrival.

TBB and Refugee Talent do not charge a fee.

Can successful refugee candidates bring their family with them to Australia?

Yes. The primary visa applicant is entitled to bring their spouse or de facto partner and any dependent children with them to Australia.

How many places are there?

In 2023-2025, the pilot will give 500 displaced people the opportunity to move to Australia with their families for work.

Is this in addition to the Humanitarian Program?

Yes. The Skilled Refugee Labour Agreement Pilot is designed to be complementary and in addition to Australia’s commitments to refugee resettlement under the Humanitarian Program.

There will be no reduction in Australia’s humanitarian intake as a result of this pilot program, and applying for or obtaining a job through this pilot will not make people ineligible for humanitarian resettlement in future.

Read more

Refugee Student Settlement Pathway

The Refugee Student Settlement Pathway (RSSP) is currently being co-designed by the Australian Government, higher education sector, peak settlement and refugee advocacy organisations, as well as students with lived experience of forced migration. It is intended to offer refugees a pathway to Australia to study at an Australian university, as well as access to a permanent visa.

What will RSSP look like? 

Inspired by Canada’s successful Student Refugee Program, and building on the momentum of existing national community sponsorship models, it is envisioned that universities and University Community Supporter Groups would take the lead in welcoming refugee students and providing practical settlement support.

When will RSSP begin?

No decision has been made about RSSP. 

If approved, the RSSP will likely begin with a 4-year testing phase (or ‘pilot’) with the first group of students potentially arriving in late 2025 to start undergraduate studies in Semester 1, 2026.

Who can apply?

Participants will be aged 18-25 years old, single with no dependents, and will undertake undergraduate studies only. The pathway will likely offer these students security and protection via permanent humanitarian visas. 

Further information will be available as the program is developed.

Family Reunion through the Migration Program

Family reunion is also a complementary pathway, as it provides an essential migration option to reunite refugee families in addition to the Humanitarian Program. 

While the Special Humanitarian Program allows family members to propose people through the Humanitarian Program, the family stream of the Migration Program allows people to bring family members in addition to the existing Humanitarian Program quota.

What visas are available for family reunion through the Migration Program?

Refugees seeking to sponsor family members through the Migration Program in Australia can utilise the following visas:

  • Subclasses 309 and 100 (Partner visa) (apply overseas)
  • Subclass 300 (Prospective Marriage visa)
  • Subclasses 820 and 801 (Partner visa) (apply in Australia)
  • Subclass 114 (Aged Dependent Relative visa)
  • Subclass 838 (Aged Dependent Relative visa)
  • Subclass 835 (Remaining Relative visa)
  • Subclass 837 (Orphan Relative visa)
  • Subclass 117 (Orphan Relative visa)
  • Subclass 116 (Carer visa)
  • Subclass 836 (Carer visa)
  • Subclass 115 (Remaining Relative visa)
  • Subclass 103 (Parent visa)
  • Subclass 804 (Aged Parent visa)
  • Subclass 864 (Contributory Aged Parent visa)
  • Subclass 143 (Contributory Parent visa)
  • Subclass 445 (Dependent Child visa)
  • Subclass 101 (Child visa)
  • Subclass 802 (Child visa)
  • Subclass 102 (Adoption visa)

How much do these visas cost?

The fees for these visas vary significantly, from approximately $1,500 for a Prospective Marriage visa to $50,000 for a Contributory Aged Parent Visa.

In addition, sponsors must also pay for airfares, medical checks, biometric tests, travel documents and other costs.

How many places are there?

The family stream of the Migration Program is uncapped, meaning that there is no limit of the number of visas allocated each year. However, there are significant wait times, depending on the visa. 

Is this in addition to the Humanitarian Program?

Yes. These visas are in addition to the Humanitarian Program.

Read more:


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