Australia Shut its Doors to Palestinian Refugees

Australian Flag (Niclas Raymond/

Approximately 160 Palestinians were denied visitor visas to Australia during the initial three months of the Israel-Gaza conflict, primarily on the grounds that their stays would not be temporary – The Guardian reports.

Fifty individuals holding Palestinian citizenship were denied entry into Australia, according to responses to questions on notice, because they “failed to demonstrate an authentic intention to remain temporarily in the country.” Crossbench senators deemed this justification “cold-blooded” and “cruel.” In the same time frame, ten applicants were declined for alternative reasons.

Adam Aljaro, civil engineer who immigrated to Australia in 1996, has two brothers and two sisters residing in Gaza who submitted visa applications in the middle of November.
One brother, according to Aljaro, is a physician in central Gaza., “has seen too many people die”.

“Why are Palestinians being rejected … They think they will stay and not go back. I will support them, I am OK financially, I can look after them.”

The Australia Palestine Advocacy Network president, Nasser Mashni, said it “beggars belief” that

the Australian government is rejecting certain visa applications “while implying that it believes people will remain in Australia due to the Israeli government’s intolerable oppression and danger to Palestinians’ lives.”

“Ukrainians were told to apply for these same visas when Russia invaded back in 2022, and there were no reports of visas being rejected on these grounds,” he said. “The government must treat Palestinians with the humanity and compassion it so rightly offered to Ukrainians.”

Cruel Decision from the Albanese Government

“It is beyond cruel to deny people fleeing the onslaught in Gaza the possibility of safety because they might be unable to return to their homes. Palestinians fleeing that devastation are being denied safety in Australia because their homes have been destroyed, with their lives and the lives of their family threatened,” said the Greens’ immigration spokesperson, David Shoebridge.

According to the independent senator Lidia Thorpe “to reject visa applications from people fleeing … a war zone is a cold-blooded act from the Albanese government”.

Max Kaiser, the co-executive officer of the Jewish Council of Australia, said it is “unconscionable to apply bureaucratic rules to people fleeing war”.

The Palestinians who arrived in Australia on tourist visas in March of this year were unable to work and were therefore forced to depend on the generosity of community organizations. At least seventy individuals who were forced to cancel or reschedule flights as a result of visa cancellations were considered “collateral damage” for the federal government’s processing errors, according to charitable organizations. Advocates for refugees and Palestinian organizations expressed “relief” when the federal government subsequently reversed its earlier decision to revoke visas for individuals fleeing Gaza.

Between 7 October and 6 February, the Australian government issued 2,273 temporary (subclass 600) visas to Palestinians, according to data from the Department of Home Affairs. However, by that time, only 330 individuals had arrived in Australia.

Although “additional resources are applied to assist with processing,” the department stated in response to notice-oriented questions that “every individual must satisfy [requirements]… including health, security, and character criteria… in order to be granted a visa, whether in a conflict zone or not.”

Additionally, those attempting to flee the conflict in Gaza were identified by the department as “grave and remains extremely fluid” and “not limited to one visa pathway”.

For travelers arriving from the Occupied Palestinian Territories, a 12-month bridging visa E is available: “as a safety net where they are unable to access standard visa pathways”. The visa grants access to Medicare and work rights.

In November the Albanese government explained Palestinians granted visas have undergone all standard security checks, rebuffing fears raised by the opposition that the cohort carried a terrorism risk.


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