Refugee Council of Australia
Black and white photo of Syrian children

Key facts on the conflict in Syria and Iraq

How has the Australian government responded?


Resettling people

In September 2015, the Australian government announced it would resettle an extra 12,000 people displaced by conflict in Syria and Iraq. This was on top of those who were also granted visas within Australia’s Refugee and Humanitarian Program.

How do refugees come to Australia?

The government issued its last visa under this program on 22 March 2017. Almost all of these visas (99%) went to families, including 4,350 children. 5,620 of these visas went to Syrians, and 6,380 to Iraqis.

12,000th Visa Issued (Minister for Immigration)

Most of these resettled in NSW, Victoria and Queensland. Most are young, between 18 and 44 years old.

Most of the visas were Special Humanitarian Program visas (7,442), meaning that their travel was paid by someone in Australia. This influenced where they settled, with more than half arriving in Sydney.

Many with SHP visas also came to Melbourne, where there was also a significant community. Most of them have settled in areas where there are already refugee communities, such as Fairfield and Liverpool in Sydney. Those who came to Brisbane, the next most popular destination, mostly arrived on Refugee visas.

Syrian and Iraqi Refugee Settlement in Australia (Collins and others)

Those resettled under this program can get the same benefits as other permanent humanitarian entrants. This includes employment and health services, English language teaching, torture and trauma counselling, and settlement services.

Aid to the region

Australia has also committed $220 million over three years to respond to the Syrian crisis. This includes humanitarian aid to Syria and its neighbours.

Syria (DFAT)

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