- A newly established Community Support Programme will soon enable communities, businesses and individuals to propose refugees and humanitarian entrants for resettlement to Australia.
- Up to 1,000 places within Australia’s annual refugee quota of 16,250 will be allocated to the CSP.
- Priority under the CSP will be given to applicants between 18-50 years of age who have an offer of employment and/or personal attributes that would enable self-sufficiency within 12 months. Additional priority is given to those willing to settle in regional Australia.
The 2017-18 Budget announced that Australia will increase its Refugee and Humanitarian Programme to provide 16,250 places in 2017-18 and 18,750 in 2018-2019. This is an increase on the 13,750 places offered in previous years and is a welcome change, especially given that global refugee numbers are at their highest levels ever.
As part of the increased quota, up to 1,000 places will be set aside under a newly established Community Support Programme (‘CSP’). The CSP will allow businesses, communities, and individuals in the community to propose refugees and humanitarian entrants – those living outside their home country who are subject to substantial discrimination amounting to a gross violation of human rights – for resettlement in Australia. According to the Government: ‘The CSP will provide a sustainable model of private sponsorship for refugees that minimises costs to governments and increases the chances of successful integration and settlement outcomes.’ (The Hon Alex Hawke MP, ‘Turnbull Government announces Community Support Programme’, Media Release, 6 May 2017).
The CSP allows businesses to demonstrate their commitment to corporate social responsibility. It is specifically targeted at refugees who are classified as job-ready: between 18-50 years old, who have an offer of employment or a pathway to employment (e.g. through a paid internship), or who have personal attributes that would allow them to be self-sufficient within 12 months. Applications for sponsorship must be made through an Approved Proposing Organisation (‘APO’) whose role it is to lodge the application and ensure the criteria are met. Importantly, the APO is to engage with reputable employers to source employment opportunities and to ensure that entrants receive essential settlement services. The government is expected to announce a list of APOs from October 2017, after which time individual applications can be lodged. Sponsors will need to lodge an assurance of support, refundable after 12 months less the cost of any social security which the sponsored refugee has accessed.
The CSP replaces the Community Proposal Pilot that has been running since 2013. Under that pilot scheme, 500 places were made available each year for private sponsorship of humanitarian entrants and refugees through one of five Approved Proposed Organisations.