Afghan Locally Engaged Employee Program

The Afghan Locally Engaged Employee (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.

In accordance with the recommendations of the independent review of the Afghan LEE Program, applications for certification closed on 30 November 2023, at 11:59 pm AEST. 

Defence is processing applications received. Applicants will be contacted in due course. 

Humanitarian and other visa options for Afghan people continue to remain open. This does not require Afghan LEE certification to pursue Australia's humanitarian and other visa pathways.  

Overview

Since 2013, the Australian Government has offered resettlement to Australia for eligible Afghan LEE and their direct family members who are at risk of harm as result of their work in support of our mission in Afghanistan.

In addition to the Defence Afghan LEE Program, the Australian Federal Police and the Department of Foreign Affairs also administer Afghan LEE Programs.   

Resources

Application guidelines are available for existing applicants.

Afghan LEE Program application guidelines (PDF, 597.29 KB)

Frequently asked questions about the program is available. 

Afghan LEE Program frequently asked questions (PDF, 309.77 KB)

Humanitarian visas

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 a humanitarian visa application from an individual who is certified under the Afghan LEE Program.

Processing times for a humanitarian visa application can vary according to program capacity and the particular circumstances of the applicant, including whether they are 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.

Further information can be found at Department of Home Affairs Refugee and Humanitarian Program and Department of Home Affairs Afghanistan Update.