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December 21, 2012 – By early 2013, community groups across Australia will already be able to sponsor people in humanitarian need, said Immigration Minister, Chris Bowen. With the said move, Australia will open its arms as a safety refuge to those who are suffering in other countries and hope that they will start new and better lives.
This program falls under the Australian 2012-2013 humanitarian program umbrella. Minister Bowen was noted to have said that there is a considerable support from the community and certain sectors towards having private sponsorship to help reunite families and give them the opportunity to start anew in Australia. The program will be on a trial basis and will be incorporated into a proper system should it prove successful in the next years.
It is estimated that about 500 people may benefit from this new system where they may be able to obtain an Australia visa.
“The private sponsorship pilot will be part of that increased program and will build on community goodwill by enabling community organisations and individuals to play a role in resettling refugees. This scheme also provides another avenue for humanitarian entrants with existing community ties to come to Australia, while minimising the cost to taxpayers,” added Minister Bowen as reported by www.migrationalliance.com.au.
Minister Bowen also emphasizes that the move is in keeping with the recommendations of the Houston Panel with regards the growing number of asylum seekers. The figure has now increased by 45 percent and is now up to 20,000.
Sponsors will be subjected to two stages of applying for an Australia visa for their beneficiaries. It is estimated that the fee would be around $20,000 to $30,000. Factors that will affect the fees include makeup of the family, medical issues, as well as flight costs.