The Project, Ten Network
Subject: Syrian refugee resettlement
Christian Porter is the Minister for Social Services, and he’s in sunny Northam in WA. Minister 3,500 out of 12,000, what’s the hold up?
Well it’s just not a very fast process I’d have to say. So, about half of the candidates have actually been granted visas, the other half have visas pending. But those with visas pending have a very vigorous process that they need to see through; security checks, biometric analysis, health checks…So it’s simply not a process that we’re intending, or are rushing.
It’s a lot of red tape. But how can Canada vet and resettle 25,000 in just four months, compared to our 3,500 in a year?
Well look, we’re not measuring ourselves against any calendar timetable, and we’re not measuring ourselves against different circumstances, standards and processes in other countries. What we’re measuring ourselves against is our standard, very stringent processes. I guess the observation I’d offer is that the huge community support around bringing in these 12,000 refugees from the Syrian crisis is built on the foundation stone of people’s confidence in the very stringent processes that we’re putting in place. So they’re not about to change, those processes.
Are you saying that Canadian’s processes aren’t as stringent? Are they less safe than us?
The three most generous nations in the earth in terms of resettling refugees are consistently Canada, the United States and Australia. So we’ve had a very proud record. But, what I can say to you without knowing internally all of the Canadian processes is that ours are amongst, if not the most, stringent in the world. And that’s why people are confident with us engaging in this process and offering a new life to people who have been displaced in Syria.
So you say there’s widespread support for this? We’re now looking at a situation where there are 12 million people displaced across Syria and Iraq. We’ve accepted 12,000 in this particular year. Should we expect to see the intake that we have steadily increased over the years to match what is clearly a massive problem?
Our standard humanitarian, our refugee intake for resettlement, is about 13,750 a year. This additional 12,000 sits, Waleed, on top of that of course. But that type of intake makes us consistently amongst the three most generous nations on earth, in terms or resettlement. But this is a global issue, and a global problem. In our observation Australia, particularly with this additional 12,000, is doing a very fair share here.
Minister with respect though, that’s not my question. I’m just saying, given that the problem is still massive, a one-off intake of 12,000 for one year is not really going to make much of a difference. I’m just asking, are we going to see those numbers increase over the coming years?
Well the Government’s policy is for 13,750, and that number does increase in very modest terms every year, and an additional 12,000. There are no plans in advance of that Waleed. But again, the response has to be held in context, not nearly of the problem, but of our ongoing response. And if we are consistently one of the three most generous nations in the world, then what that probably indicates is that there’s room for some other nations, perhaps, to do a little but more. We think that our response here is a prudent and proper response, but it’s also a very generous response comparatively across the world.
Minister we appreciate your time. Thank you