Afghan Locally Engaged Employee Program (LEE)
The application period for the Afghan LEE Program has now closed
The Australian Government is no longer accepting applications under the Afghan LEE program. The application period ended at 11:59PM AEST 30 November 2023.
The Afghan LEE program is for Afghan nationals who were employed with the Australian Government in Afghanistan and are at risk of harm as a result of their work.
Agencies continue to process applications received before 11:59PM Australian Eastern Standard Time on 30 November 2023. Relevant agencies will contact you about your application in due course.
Humanitarian and other visa options for Afghan people continue to remain open. You do not need to be certified as an Afghan LEE to pursue Australia's humanitarian and other visa pathways. Additional information is included below.
Since 2013, the Australian Government has offered resettlement to Australia for certified Afghan locally engaged employees (LEE) and their direct family members who are at risk of harm as result of their work in support of Australia's operations in Afghanistan.
Updates to the Afghan Locally Engaged Employee Program
Applications closed 30 November 2023
In accordance with the recommendations of the independent review of the Afghan LEE Program, applications for certification closed on 30 November 2023, at 11:59PM Australian Eastern Standard Time.
Guidelines and Frequently Asked Questions
Guidelines for existing applicants and Frequently Asked Questions about the program are available below:
Humanitarian visas for certified Afghan LEE
Individuals certified under the Afghan LEE Program must
separately apply to the Department of Home Affairs for a humanitarian visa.
Home Affairs will prioritise the processing of humanitarian visa applications from individuals certified under the Afghan LEE Program.
Processing times for a humanitarian visa application can vary according to program capacity and the applicant's individual circumstances. This includes whether an applicant is inside or outside Afghanistan, and their ability to travel, provide documents or access Australian government officials.
All visa applicants in the humanitarian program must meet the visa criteria and satisfy public interest criteria for character, security and health. These checks can take time. Certification as an Afghan LEE is not a guarantee that an individual will receive a humanitarian visa.
Processing of humanitarian visas for individuals certified under the Afghan LEE Program will continue for as long as required.
Applying for a humanitarian visa
Not being certified under the Afghan LEE Program has no adverse impact on an individual's suitability to obtain an Australian visa.
Individuals who are not certified under the Afghan LEE Program may still apply for a humanitarian visa. Home Affairs will process their visa application in accordance with Australian Government priorities.
- Department of Home Affairs Refugee and Humanitarian Program
- Department of Home Affairs Afghanistan Update
Independent Review into the Afghan Locally Engaged Employee Program
In 2021, the Senate Inquiry on Australia's Engagement in Afghanistan recommended a full and thorough whole-of-government review of the Afghan LEE Program. On 10 November 2022, the Government appointed Dr Vivienne Thom AM to lead the review. Dr Thom provided her report to the Government on 20 March 2023.
Dr Thom made seven recommendations to improve the design and delivery of the Afghan LEE Program. The Government has already begun implementing a number of these recommendations. The report also included an eighth recommendation to improve the design of any future, similar LEE programs.
The Government has agreed to all eight recommendations.
- Australian Government response to the independent review [DOCX 28 KB]
- Australian Government response to the independent review [PDF 174 KB]