Immigration and Refugees

Australia has humanitarian and legal obligations to accept refugees and reunite families. Australian society benefits from immigration.


The Australian Greens believe that:

1. Australia's cultural, ethnic and linguistic diversity should be celebrated for greatly enriching our society and economy, and this diversity is enhanced by the immigration of people to Australia.

2. Immigration must be non-discriminatory on the grounds of nationality, ethnicity, religion, language, level of English language competence, gender, disability, sexuality, age or socioeconomic background.

3. Australia must uphold its humanitarian and legal obligations to people seeking asylum and refugees, grant refugees protection and reunite families as required by international human rights law and the Refugee Convention 1951 and its Protocol.

4. Australia must uphold its humanitarian and legal obligations to special category visa holders.

5. Seeking asylum is a human right. People who enter Australian territory to seek asylum do so lawfully.

6. Asylum seeking is a humanitarian issue rather than an issue of border security or defence, and people seeking asylum must be treated with compassion, as our equal in rights and dignity.

7. The treatment of refugees and people seeking asylum must be humane, transparent, predictable and consistent.

8. Arbitrary detention of refugees and people seeking asylum is a gross violation of human rights.

9. Extreme weather events, natural disasters, and environmental degradation as a result of the climate crisis are already, and will continue to displace increasing numbers of people globally.

10. A co-operative international response is required to find durable solutions for displaced people.

11. As a party to the Refugee Convention, Australia must fairly and promptly assess the applications of all people seeking asylum who arrive in Australian territory, including territorial waters, irrespective of their mode of arrival.

12. Australia has additional responsibilities to refugees from countries where Australian defence personnel have been deployed in conflict situations.

13. Temporary migrant workers are entitled to fair pay and working conditions. They are entitled to a safe workplace, free from discrimination, exploitation, harassment and occupational hazards as well as fair remedial outcomes in the event of exploitation and underpayment.


The Australian Greens want:

1. A permanent migration program for refugees and migrants to Australia that prioritises family reunion and humanitarian entrants, and facilitates migration or resettlement to Australia within a reasonable time.

2. The development of networks, materials and programs that increase community understanding of the causes and benefits of migration.

3. Sufficient funding for public and community sector agencies providing migrant-specific services to deliver adequate, effective and timely support.

4. A review of the family, skilled and business migration streams to prioritise family reunion and meeting skills shortages.

5. Skilled migration programs that do not substitute for training or undermine wages and conditions in Australia.

6. Accessible pathways to employment for skilled migrants permanently settling in Australia, including, consistent, timely, fair, transparent and non-discriminatory assessment of overseas qualifications.

7. Adoption of a Human Rights Charter that protects and promotes the rights of refugees,  asylum seekers and people who are stateless.

8. Recognition that children have rights under the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Article 37(b) and (d) and therefore unaccompanied children are entitled to special care and assistance. This requires the abolition of indefinite detention for all people seeking asylum.

9. No family unit to be forcibly separated by Australian immigration assessment processes.

10. Greater incentives for rural and regional distribution of refugees and immigrants using successful models for settlement.

11. Access to Australia’s migration programs, including the family migration program, to not discriminate on the basis of economic circumstances.

12. The incorporation of relevant international conventions into immigration law to ensure that there is an avenue for complaint when these rights are breached.

13. Any appointment to tribunals to be independently made in accordance with a predefined formula of civil society representation and legal expertise.

14. Services for new migrants, refugees and special category visa holders that include appropriate English language and financial literacy classes, social security, health, legal and interpreter services, and post-trauma counselling where needed.

15. Greater Australian investment in Asia-Pacific regional cooperation to provide safer pathways and long-term planning for people seeking asylum and those displaced by ongoing conflicts and climate change.

16. Australia to take a leading role in advocating for a new international framework to provide protection and solutions for people at risk of displacement, or displaced, by the impacts of climate change.

17. Australia to show leadership in our region by fostering international cooperation to protect people seeking asylum and refugees, founded on shared responsibility according to capacity, and by encouraging all nations to sign and ratify and uphold the Refugee Convention and the 1967 Protocol.

18. Australia to adequately contribute to the funding of, and work closely with, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and other agencies assisting in the movement of asylum seekers, refugees and displaced people.

19. An increase in the humanitarian quota, and offshore quotas fulfilled without reference or linkage to any onshore arrivals or other programs.

20. Restoration of the Australian migration zone to match Australia's territory and acceptance of responsibility for assessing all asylum claims of people who seek Australia's protection within the migration zone.

21. People seeking asylum to be fully informed of their rights on arrival and given immediate access to legal support and health care, assisted by interpreters, as required.

22. The current system of humanitarian visas (granted only by ministerial discretion) to be replaced with an open, accountable humanitarian visa assessment.

23. Assessment of applications for asylum completed in a timely and transparent manner.

24. Refugees to be treated with dignity, including within the discourse used by Australian Government departments and agencies.

25. The elimination of mandatory and indefinite detention, and the abolition of offshore processing (where a person seeking asylum, refugee or special category visa holder is returned from Australian territory to another nation to be assessed) and other forms of punitive or discriminatory treatment.

26. Once initial health, security and identity checks are completed within a maximum of seven days, people seeking asylum who arrive without a valid visa or travel documents to be accommodated in the community, unless otherwise ordered by a court, with periodic judicial review thereafter. Access to health and education services must be immediately provided.

27. All people found to be refugees, but given negative security assessments, to be given the reasons for such assessment, access to legal representation and the opportunity to challenge this in the appropriate forum. They are only to be detained as individually required by court order, with periodic judicial review.

28. People seeking asylum to have work rights, access to social security, legal representation, interpreters, health care, case management, and appropriate education for the duration of their assessment.

29. People seeking asylum whose protection visa applications have been denied, and individuals who have had visas cancelled, to be provided with accommodation within the community until they can be repatriated. Where a person is found to be stateless they shall be accommodated in the community until they are issued with a visa or another durable solution is found, in accordance with our obligations under the 1954 and 1961 UN Conventions on Statelessness.

30. Training of immigration decision-makers to enable them to properly assess claims for family reunion or refugee status based on sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status.

31. Replacement of the Special Category Visa with a permanent residence visa available to all New Zealand citizens on arrival, with the same entitlements of other permanent resident visas.

32. When a non-citizen is imprisoned for a crime, once initial sentences are completed, they should be accommodated in the community unless otherwise ordered by a court.

33. End mandatory deportation of people who are both permanent residents of Australia and citizens of New Zealand

34. Special category visa holders subject to negative character assessments by the Immigration minister to be given reasons for such assessment and the opportunity to challenge this in the appropriate forum

35. Visa holders subject to character test to have work rights, and access to social security, legal representation, interpreters, health services, case management, and appropriate education for the duration of their assessment.

36. Australia to recognise people escaping gender violence and violence on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status, as refugees belonging to a ‘particular social group’ under the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees.

37. Information sessions on Australian law to be available to all migrants in their preferred language. These should include written materials and cover at least employment and other rights, protections against family violence, protections against racial vilification, and all available support services.

38. Strengthened protections for migrant workers. This includes increasing civil penalties for organisations that are non-compliant and imposing criminal charges on organisations that engage in systemic wage underpayment, modern slavery and trafficking.

39. Adequate and targeted funding to the Fair Work Ombudsman so that exploited migrant workers can seek individual remedies to recover stolen wages.

40. Australia's anti-slavery framework to be expanded to include labour law reforms.

(Immigration and Refugees Policy as amended by Special National Conference August 2020.)