16 January 2017
Email: [FOI #2753 email]
In reply please quote:
FOI Request: FA 16/11/01500
File Number: ADF2016/71711
Dear GIPAboy Access Decision - Freedom of Information (FOI) request – Release of documents
This letter refers to an access request received under the Freedom of Information Act 1982
(the FOI Act) on 17 November 2016, seeking access to:
1. Request for number of Syrian applicants that have applied for visitor visas to
Australia from July 2015 to September 2016.
2. How many applications (from Syrian applicants) for the visitor visa have been
3. Request for number of Syrian applicants that have applied for the different types of
refugee and humanitarian visas from July 2015 to September 2016. Please provide
total number of applicants, and then total number of applicants by visa type.
4. How many applications (from Syrian applicants) for the refugee and humanitarian
visas have been successful? Please provide total number of successful applications,
and then total number of successful applications by visa type.
Timeframe for processing your request
The FOI Act provides a statutory period for processing your request of 30 calendar days,
unless an extension of time is agreed to, or provided for under a provision of the FOI Act.
On 23 November 2016, the Department wrote to you acknowledging your request and
requesting a further 30 days within which to make a decision on your request. You agreed in
writing to this extension of time.
Pursuant to section 15AA of the FOI Act, the Department has also notified the Information
Commissioner in writing of this extension of time, of which the due date for a decision on
your request was extended to Monday, 16 January 2017. Authority to make decision
I am an officer authorised under section 23 of the FOI Act to make decisions in respect of
requests to access documents or to amend or annotate Departmental records.
6 Chan Street Belconnen ACT 2617
PO Box 25 BELCONNEN ACT 2616• Telephone: 02 6264 1111• Fax: 02 6225 6970• Website:
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Documents in scope
Documents in scope of the request are:
• Syrian Offshore Humanitarian Lodgements and Grants, by Stream (01 July 2015 to
30 September 2016) – containing 1 folio
• Subclass 600 Visitor visas lodged and granted in 2015-16 and 2016-17 to 30
September 2016 where the citizenship country is Syrian Arab Republic – containing 1
In reaching my decision, I have considered the following:
• the Freedom of Information Act 1982
• Departmental documents, (identified above);
• consultation with relevant business areas; and
• the Australian Information Commissioner’s FOI guidelines relating to access to
documents held by government.
I am satisfied that I have been provided with all the relevant documents to consider in my
decision. I have considered the documents and am satisfied that no exemptions apply.
Therefore, I am releasing the relevant documents in full.
If you disagree with my decision, you have the right to apply for an internal review by the
Department of my decision. Any request for internal review must be provided to the
Department within 30 days of you being notified of the decision. Where possible please
attach reasons why you believe review of the decision is necessary. The internal review will
be carried out by an officer other than the original decision-maker and the Department must
make a review decision within 30 days.
Applications for review should be sent to:
Freedom of Information
Department of Immigration and Border Protection
PO Box 25 BELCONNEN ACT 2616
Or by email to: [email address]
Review by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner
You may apply directly to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) for a
review of my decision. You must apply in writing within 60 days of this notice. For further
information about review rights and how to submit a review request to the OAIC, please see
FOI fact sheet 12 ‘Freedom of information – Your review right
s’, available online at www.oaic.gov.au
. How to make a complaint about the handling of this FOI request
You may complain to the Australian Information Commissioner about action taken by the
Department of Immigration and Border Protection in relation to your request.
Your enquiries to the Australian Information Commissioner can be directed to:
Phone 1300 363 992 (local call charge)
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Contacting the FOI Section
If you wish to discuss this matter, I can be contacted using the details provided below.
Freedom of Information Section
Department of Immigration and Border Protection
Documents released to you under the FOI Act
Every year many more people apply to be resettled under the offshore Humanitarian
Programme than Australia can accept. In 2015 – 16, over 40,000 people applied and nearly
7000 people were granted visas overseas. Even with the additional 12,000 places, the
limited number of visas available and the high demand for these places means that not
everyone can be accepted. Priority is given to those people outside their home country,
assessed as refugees by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and
formally referred to Australia for resettlement, and applicants proposed by a close family
member in Australia. To manage the demand for places in the Humanitarian Programme
fairly, priority in processing is given to people who have fled their country of origin and been
formally referred for resettlement by UNHCR, and people in humanitarian situations outside
their home country who are proposed by close relatives in Australia through the Special
Humanitarian Programme (SHP).
Syrian Offshore Humanitarian Lodgements and Grants, by Stream
(01 July 2015 to 30 September 2016)
1. As information has been drawn from dynamic system environments the information provided
may differ from previous or future reporting.
2. This table includes visas granted towards the annual offshore resettlement component of the
Humanitarian Programme, and the additional 12,000 places for people displaced by conflict in
Syria and Iraq.
3. Refugee visas include subclass 200 (Refugee) and 204 (Woman at Risk). SHP visas include
subclass 202 (Global Special Humanitarian Programme).
4. Data was extracted from Departmental systems on 28 November 2016.
5. The country of birth of principal visa applicants is applied to secondary visa applicants.