A hundred Afghan security staff, who had guarded the Australian embassy in Kabul, received a notification from the Department of Foreign Affairs that they are not eligible for immediate evacuation, on Friday. The security guards received a standard mass rejection letter saying that they didn’t qualify under the rules and they should contact a migration lawyer.
ABC News obtained the letter sent to the security staff. The sub-contractor group of Afghan security staff got a pro-forma rejection letter by email. It stated that they were “not eligible for certification” under a visa scheme called “At Risk Afghan Employee Visa Scheme.” The letter thanked them for their application and said that Marise Payne, who is the Foreign Affairs Minister had considered them.
The agency reported that the email also stated that extra 3,000 places have been added to Australia’s program and that particular priority would be given to those minorities who are expected to face persecution as well as to those who had links to Australia.
The letter continued to inform the recipients to check their options as per the above scheme. It said that their names had been given to the Home Affairs Department, which is in charge of processing applications. It also recommended that they might contact a migration lawyer to discuss the mentioned “avenues.”
The entire group was shocked by the email. These security guards had been thoroughly vetted before joining and had guarded the Australian embassy, for a salary that was below $30 per day. They felt abandoned by the very people they had risked their lives to guard and protect for years on end.
One of the reasons for rejection under the scheme was reportedly because they were sub contract workers and were not in direct employment by the embassy. ABC News has not named the contractors to safeguard them from possible retribution.
A lawyer, who is working to help Afghans leave the country, has put forth a Federal Court challenge. Late on Sunday, a DAFT spokesperson said that the guards had been approved for visas under “another humanitarian category.” However, the advocates have said that the guards have not received any information, till the publication of this article.
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