Refugee Week: Time for Labor to make good on commitment to increase humanitarian intake

After more than a year in government and two federal budgets, Labor is yet to keep its commitment to increase Australia’s humanitarian intake.

This Refugee Week and on World Refugee Day, Amnesty International Australia is calling on the federal Labor government to deliver on the commitment in their party platform to raise the Refugee and Humanitarian Program intake to at least 27,000 places a year.

Amnesty Refugee Rights Campaigner Zaki Haidari says:

“This week, Labor politicians are celebrating Refugee Week in parliament. Social media accounts of Labor MPs are already filling up with content celebrating World Refugee Day and the former refugees who’ve made Australia their home.”

“If the Labor government wants the public to take seriously their election promises to welcome people fleeing conflict into our communities, and their speeches and social media posts celebrating the contribution of former refugees, they must increase the humanitarian intake to at least 27,000 people each year.”

“Refugee Week is the time for the federal Labor government to finally make good on its promise to the public, who voted at the federal election for Australia to do its fair share and welcome people seeking safety and a place to call home.”

“Australia’s commitment lags well behind other resettlement countries, such as Canada, which has committed to resettling up to 79,000 refugees annually. This Refugee Week, it’s time for that to change.”

Amnesty is also urging the Government to make resettlement places under the Community Sponsorship Program or Community Refugee Integration and Settlement Program (CRISP) additional to the intake, rather than being deducted. Another commitment the Albanese Government has failed to fulfil in this budget.

This year’s Refugee Week theme is Finding Freedom. World Refugee Day is June 20th 2023.


In the past three years 28,000 refugee and humanitarian visa places that were promised by the Australian Government have been lost.

While the world is facing the largest refugee crisis since the Second World War, Labor has failed to increase the refugee and humanitarian intake after the previous Coalition government made drastic cuts. In 2022, the Morrison government cut Australia’s humanitarian intake to just 13,750 (reduced from 18,750 places in the 2019-2020 program).

People who need resettlement in 2023 now exceed 2 million people, according to the United National High Commissioner for Refugees (or UNHCR) – a 36% increase from 2022 projections.

More than two-thirds of all refugees under UNHCR’s mandate come from just five countries, two of which are within the Asia and Pacific region – Afghanistan (2.7 million) and Myanmar (1.2 million).

The Australian Government has still not made community sponsorship of refugees additional to the Refugee and Humanitarian Program intake. This means every refugee sponsored under the Community Sponsorship Program or the Community Refugee Integration and Settlement Program (CRISP) is still deducted from the intake. This means ordinary Australians and community groups are paying for places the government has already promised. View Amnesty International Australia’s submission to the Federal Department of Home Affairs on Australia’s Humanitarian Program 2022-2023:

Amnesty works to support refugees and asylum seekers. We challenge injustice by campaigning for the Australian government to raise the humanitarian intake, improve community sponsorship and end offshore detention. Find out more about our Refugee Rights campaign here.

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