Australia’s Private Refugee Sponsorship Program: Creating Complementary Pathways Or Privatising Humanitarianism?

  • Asher Lazarus Hirsch PhD Candidate, Monash University; Senior Policy Officer, Refugee Council of Australia. http://orcid.org/0000-0002-5675-5977
  • Khanh Hoang Khanh Hoang, PhD Candidate, Andrew and Renata Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law, University of New South Wales; Senior Protection Assistant, UNHCR Regional Representation Canberra.
  • Anthea Vogl Lecturer, Faculty of Law, University of Technology Sydney.

Abstract

Abstract
This article provides the first history and critique of Australia’s private refugee sponsorship program, the Community Support Program (CSP). As more countries turn to community sponsorship of refugees as a means to fill the “resettlement gap,” Australia’s model provides a cautionary tale. The CSP, introduced in 2017, does not expand Australia’s overall resettlement commitment but instead takes places from within the existing humanitarian resettlement program. The Australian program charges sponsors exorbitant application fees, while simultaneously prioritizing refugees who are “job ready,” with English-language skills and ability to integrate quickly, undermining the principle of resettling the most vulnerable. As such, we argue that the CSP hijacks places from within Australia’s humanitarian program and represents a market-driven outsourcing and privatization of Australia’s refugee resettlement priorities and commitments.

Author Biographies

Asher Lazarus Hirsch, PhD Candidate, Monash University; Senior Policy Officer, Refugee Council of Australia.

Asher Hirsch is a PhD candidate at Monash University and a senior policy officer at the Refugee Council of Australia. He can be contacted at asher.hirsch@monash.edu.

Khanh Hoang, Khanh Hoang, PhD Candidate, Andrew and Renata Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law, University of New South Wales; Senior Protection Assistant, UNHCR Regional Representation Canberra.

Khanh Hoang is a PhD candidate at the Andrew and Renata Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law, University of New South Wales, and a senior protection assistant at the UNHCR Regional Representation of Canberra. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of UNHCR. He can be contacted at khanh.hoang@student.unsw.edu.au.

Anthea Vogl, Lecturer, Faculty of Law, University of Technology Sydney.

Anthea Vogl is a lecturer at the Faculty of Law at University of Technology Sydney. She can be contacted at Anthea.Vogl@uts.edu.au.

Published
2019-06-05
How to Cite
Hirsch, A. L., Hoang, K., & Vogl, A. (2019). Australia’s Private Refugee Sponsorship Program: Creating Complementary Pathways Or Privatising Humanitarianism?. Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees, 35(2), 109-122. https://doi.org/10.7202/1064823ar