I arrived in a Pacific Island Country and I wish to claim asylum. Can UNHCR in Canberra assist me?

If you have arrived in a Pacific Island Country and you require further information on the process of claiming asylum, please contact the UNHCR Representation in Canberra.

In relation to asylum-seekers who are transferred from Australia to Nauru or Papua New Guinea please see the below.

I am an asylum-seeker who has been transferred from Australia to Papua New Guinea or Nauru. Can UNHCR in Canberra assist me?

New Zealand and Australia announced on 24 March 2022 an arrangement under which New Zealand will resettle eligible refugees subject to Australia’s offshore transfer policy. The arrangement applies to eligible refugees currently located on Nauru or in Australia. It has been agreed that New Zealand will accept to resettle up to 150 refugees annually for three years.

As transferred persons currently in Papua New Guinea are not included in this arrangement, UNHCR has agreed with New Zealand that it will provide referrals of eligible refugees from Papua New Guinea through a separate channel. These will be under New Zealand’s refugee quota program.

You can find out more about these two pathways for resettlement to New Zealand and how to express your interest in being considered using the links below.

  1. Steps Involved in the New Zealand Resettlement Pathways for Transferred Persons
  1. Expression of Interest Oneline Form for Transferred Persons Located in Papua New Guinea  
  1. Expression of Interest Online Form for Transferred Persons Located in Nauru or Australia 
  1. General information on Resettlement
  1. UNHCR media statement on Resettlement to New Zealand for transferred persons

All UNHCR services are free of charge. 

The services and assistance provided by UNHCR are entirely free of charge. Do not trust anyone or any organization asking you to pay for our services. If you have any questions about the information shared in this community message, you can contact UNHCR by email: [email protected]

I am an asylum-seeker who has been transferred to Nauru or Papua New Guinea and I wish to make a complaint about the conditions of my detention. Can UNHCR assist me?

UNHCR is not in the position to investigate individual complaints regarding the conditions of a person’s detention.

UNHCR has a supervisory role regarding the implementation of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees in Nauru and Papua New Guinea. As part of this supervisory role, UNHCR visited the detention facilities at Nauru and Papua New Guinea to monitor their compliance with international standards. Read UNHCR’s monitoring reports.

You may wish to contact the Commonwealth Ombudsman regarding your concerns. Contact details for the Commonwealth Ombudsman are as follows:

  • Phone:1300 362 072 (calls from mobile phones at mobile phone rates)
  • Fax: (02) 6276 0123
  • SMS: 0413 COM OMB (0413 266 662) (standard carrier rates apply)
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Postal: GPO Box 442, CANBERRA ACT 2601

You may also consider contacting the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) Complaint Handling Section. Contact details for the AHRC are as follows:

  • Phone: 1300 656 419 (local call) or (02) 9284 9888
  • TTY: 1800 620 241 (toll free)
  • Fax : (02) 9284 9611
  • Email : [email protected]