CityHub: Calls for transparency on Australian visa cancellations

The recent reports of the Australian government cancelling Australian visas of Palestinians fleeing Gaza mid flight has sparked calls for transparency.

Figures from the Department of Home Affairs show that the Australian government granted 2,273 temporary (subclass 600) visas for Palestinians with family in Australia between October 7 and February 6 this year. But there are reports of Palestinians having their visas cancelled mid flight or upon arrival to the airport. The reasons for the callelations are currently unclear. 

Since the beginning of the Israel Palestine conflict more that 31,000 Palestinians have been killed. Visa cancellations have left Palestinians stranded.

There is an injured 23-year-old man stuck in an Istanbul airport after his visa was cancelled en route to Australia. He cannot return to Egypt or leave the airport without a valid visa.

President of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties (NSWCCL) Lydia Shelly has written an open letter to the Minister for Home Affairs Clare O’Neil, urging for clarity on the situation.

“There has not been any transparency from the government regarding their visa cancellations,” she wrote.

“It does not make sense that people who had previously passed security clearances suddenly find their visas cancelled.”

Furthermore, the lack of clear feedback on the visa cancellations limits individuals’ options for an appeal, she continued.


Ms Shelly said that in a time like this, Palestinians need certainty.

“People who are fleeing the occupation, violence and starvation in Palestine have faced extraordinary trauma,” she said.

“It is inhumane to add this intolerable burden to desperate people escaping the horrendous conditions in their homeland. These people need certainty,” she continued.

“For Australia to suddenly pull the rug out from underneath adds to their tremendous suffering and creates further chaos in an already chaotic situation.”

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