Crowds outside the Kabul airport (Image: AP/Shekib Rahmani)

Australia’s immigration policies, including a cruel direction intended to penalise asylum seekers who arrived by boat from reuniting with their families, has delivered a costly blow to the hope Afghan-Australians have of seeing some of their loved ones again. This is the story of just one child.

Somewhere in Kabul a 16-year-old Hazara boy is alone.

All of his immediate family -- from the same ethnic Afghan minority group that has historically been targeted by the extremist Islamic Taliban fighters -- were granted visas to resettle in Australia in 2017. But because the boy is an adopted child, his first visa application was rejected by the Immigration Department (now Home Affairs). The second attempt to secure him a visa to be reunited with his parents in Australia has surpassed 12 months.