Since 23 February a total of 3,000 Australian visas have been issued to Ukrainian citizens in response to the turmoil in their homeland from Russia’s military invasion in recent weeks.
Immigration minister Alex Hawke confirmed the visa number on Friday, writing in a statement that the Australian government would keep progressing applications from Ukrainians across all visa categories as a priority.
“Australia strongly supports Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Hawke said.
“We call on Russia to withdraw its forces from Ukrainian territory and we deeply regret the already high number of casualties, in particular the Ukrainian civilians killed so far in the conflict.”
The minister added an automatic six-month extension would be granted to any Ukrainian national currently in Australia who had a visa set to expire by 30 June 2022.
“The Australian government stands ready to assist Ukrainians through a range of temporary and permanent migration pathways,” he said.
Hawke has met with a number of human rights and community leaders in Australia as Vladimir Putin’s military violence in Ukraine carries on, and the number of innocent civilians lost to the Russian attack grows. Millions of Ukrainians have fled their homeland and thousands are believed to have died, as a result of direct conflict and also in efforts to cross into neighbouring countries.
“I continue to meet with leaders of the Ukrainian-Australian community to discuss Australia’s ongoing participation in the international response to the invasion, to provide updates on government support measures that are available, and to receive valuable feedback and input,” Hawke said.
“I have also met with representatives from Australia’s Eastern European communities to discuss developments and to extend the Australian Government’s continued support.”
Earlier in March the minister was briefed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ regional representative in Canberra Adrian Edwards about the agency’s support activities in Europe.
“Australia is funding trusted humanitarian partners to ensure life-saving assistance reaches vulnerable Ukrainians quickly.
“This funding will help provide shelter, emergency relief, and psychosocial support to those in need,” Hawke said.
Edwards also updated Hawke on the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan and discussed Australia’s ongoing efforts to resettle Afghan refugees.