The Australian government has apparently rejected over 100 visa applications, as nations around the world rush to bring their citizens back from Afghanistan. According to several reports, more than 100 former Australian embassy employees have been denied visas to Australia. This came as a shock to the former embassy employees who were looking forward to leaving Afghanistan as soon as possible and had placed their hope in Australia. According to the letter from Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, ‘Australia’s Minister for External Affairs has considered your request. However, you are ineligible for certification under this policy’.
There are 3,000 humanitarian visas available though for minorities, women, children, and those with links to Australia who are stuck in the country. Visa applicants are urged to carefully consider their situation and determine if they qualify for humanitarian visas. A number of security guards at the Australian embassy in Kabul and full-time maintenance staff claim they were told their services – many of whom have worked for the embassy for over a decade – were insufficient to qualify them for evacuation flights.
On condition of anonymity, a guard told Guardian Australia: ‘Unfortunately the Australian government turned its back and left behind those 196 people and their families who have worked in the Australian embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan for the past two decades. The Australian embassy worked until the last minute to evacuate its office and close its doors. In [a] bad security environment, which is prevalent throughout Afghanistan at present, it is unfair to leave them behind. They [have] proven themselves with their services’.
Australia’s Embassy in Kabul abruptly closed its doors in May when the officials realized they could not guarantee the safety of their employees at the time. In contrast to what the Australian Federal Government claims, the security guard who applied for the visa does not believe the government can claim former employees are eligible for humanitarian visas. The applicant argued that his visa application was granted even though he had met the set criteria.