Australian Embassy


Information for Refugee and Humanitarian applicants

The offshore component of the Refugee and Humanitarian Programme involves resettlement of people needing humanitarian assistance to Australia who do not have any other durable solution available to them.

There are two categories of visas under the offshore resettlement programme:

  • Refugee category (subclass 200)
  • Special Humanitarian Programme (SHP) category (subclass 202)

NOTE: The number of applications we receive for resettlement each year is far greater than available visas.

It is important to note that not all applicants, even in high priority groups, will be successful as they must meet all requirements, including the compelling reasons criterion.  Applicants are advised to consider all options available to them, including resettlement in other countries, and alternatives to resettlement.

All applications currently in our office will be assessed individually on their merits in line with Australia’s existing refugee and humanitarian policies.  Most applications will take a number of months to process (sometimes more than a year from the date the application is referred to the Beirut office).  It is not possible to be more precise than this because processing time varies according to the circumstances of individual applicants. 

As all applicants are in similar circumstances we cannot expedite one application above others in equally compelling and compassionate situations.  You can expect the Department to make contact with the applicant should further information be required or when the application is finalised. 

For further information please visit our website at:

Special Humanitarian Programme (SHP) (Applications lodged in Australia by a Australian Proposer)

Special Humanitarian Programme (SHP) category visas are for people who are subject to substantial discrimination amounting to gross violation of their human rights in their home country, and who are residing outside their home country.

SHP applicants must be proposed for entry to Australia by an Australian citizen or permanent resident.  Priority in the SHP is given to those with the closest family links to Australia.  Applications must be lodged in our Australian office.  Our office in Australia will only refer cases in the highest priority groups to the Australian embassy in Beirut for processing.  

Refugee applications (self-referred applications lodged in Beirut)

Refugee category visas are for people who are experiencing persecution in their home country, who living outside that country and in need of resettlement.

Priority is given to applications formally referred to the Australian Embassy by the United Nations High Commissioner for refugees (UNHCR). If the UNHCR assesses that you are a refugee whose life and freedom depends on urgent resettlement, they may refer your case to the Australian Embassy.  If you are registered with the UNHCR please do not contact them to ask that your application be referred to the Australian embassy, they will contact you if your application is referred to Australia.

The limited number of places available and the high demand for these places mans that not everyone will be accepted. The Beirut office has now received several thousands more applications for self-referred Refugee visas than there are places available for.  Any new applications received are unlikely to be successful. 

This office will not respond to progress enquires on self-referred applications.  You can expect the Department to make contact with the applicant should further information be required or when the application is finalised.