Since 2014, tensions have continued to rise in Eastern Europe leading to the final tipping point the world is witnessing today. On 24 February 2022, Russia ordered troops into its neighbouring country Ukraine, seeking its de-militarisation over security concerns of NATO occupation near its borders. The current international climate is tense, fearful and volatile. This mood is felt even more so within Ukraine, whose citizens are experiencing the direct consequences of war. While some Ukrainians take up arms to defend their homeland, others search for refuge and safety away from the conflict.
According to the U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR), over three million Ukrainians have fled the country since the beginning of the war. This number would likely be much higher had martial law not been declared, forcing Ukrainian men aged between 18 and 60 to remain in the country.
Australia’s response to the crisis
Australia has decided to not only denounce Russia’s actions through economic sanctions, but to also provide aid in the humanitarian crisis; that is, the displacement of Ukrainians. In order to assist Ukrainian refugees, Australia’s Department of Home Affairs have:
- Prioritised the progression of all outstanding visa applications from Ukrainian nationals.
- Put in place an automatic 6 month visa extension for Ukrainian nationals who are onshore in Australia holding a visa expiring before 30 June 2022. Because this is automatically added, there is no need to apply for this extension.
- Created an enquiry form solely dedicated to Ukraine conflict visa arrangements which can be found here.
Ukrainians looking to move to Australia without eligibility for another visa can apply for a Refugee visa or Global Special Humanitarian visa through this link.
Should you have any questions about these transitional arrangements, please don’t hesitate to contact our migration lawyers.