Australia Offers Ukrainians Extended Visas

By Editorial 11 March, 2014

Ukrainians in Australia on visas that are close to expiring can now apply for a temporary extension while unrest continues in their home state.

The move, which has the backing of the main opposition party, was announced by Immigration Minister Scott Morrison and Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop. Speaking in Parliament, Bishop described the situation in Ukraine as "highly charged and volatile," and said that Australia had joined other nations in calling for Russia to de-escalate its involvement in the country.

Stefan Romaniw, who chairs the Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations, said that the visa decision was "the only fair thing to do." He said that Ukrainians in Australia were not abusive of the visa system, and had always worked with the Government.

The announcement hasn't been welcomed by all. Representatives of Syrian and South Sudanese communities in Australia have questioned why a similar concession has not been granted to visitors from their countries.

Meanwhile, the Australian Government has issued advice to Australians in Ukraine, and those considering trips, to "reconsider their need to travel or their need to remain [in Ukraine]," and register with the Government's Smartraveller website.

Tags: Australia | Ukraine | Expats | Visas And Passports | Welfare |


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