Immigration minister open to refugee idea

Daniel McCullochAAP
Immigration Minister Alex Hawke (background) backs a community support model for refugee settlement.
Camera IconImmigration Minister Alex Hawke (background) backs a community support model for refugee settlement. Credit: AAP

Immigration Minister Alex Hawke appears open to expanding Australia's refugee intake through more community sponsored refugee places.

Mr Hawke is weighing up a review into the relatively new community support program, which is based on a Canadian model where individuals, businesses or community groups cover the resettlement costs of refugees.

Canada has welcomed more than 300,000 refugees under the scheme since the 1970s.

The program was introduced in Australia in 2017 and has been reviewed by Alison Larkins, the Commonwealth coordinator-general for migrant services.

Mr Hawke said he was a strong supporter of the community support program.

"It is great to see the strong interest and commitment to community sponsorship approaches within the Australian community, and the positive settlement outcomes being achieved through these channels, both through our current program and internationally," he said on Monday.

"I look forward to ensuring the program becomes a genuine, successful partnership between community, business and the government, to provide beneficial outcomes to our refugee and humanitarian arrivals in Australia."

The minister said he would consider Ms Larkins' findings in detail and consider possible changes to strengthen the government's approach.

"I look forward to providing an update on my considerations in due course," Mr Hawke said.

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