Over the weekend, Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed Australia had resettled around 400 locally-engaged Afghan employees and their families since April. But with a military evacuation flight belatedly set to land in Kabul today, hours after the Taliban took control of the country’s capital, there are hundreds of others who are waiting for the Australian government to give them clarity about their future.
The local staff
Australia’s slow, opaque process for offering visas to Afghans prioritises Locally-Engaged Employees (LEEs) for a fast-track visa. But there are hundreds of people who are waiting for their applications to be approved, some who have been in limbo for years.
Afghanistan veteran and military lawyer Glenn Kolomeitz, who represents Afghan LEEs, says he is in touch with 196 interpreters, 50 guards, and two journalists who have applied for a visa and haven’t heard back. Of that group, just 12 guards had the first step of the visa approved.