More than 200 South Africans have applied for Australian humanitarian visas in light of recent comments by the country's minister of home affairs. According to a 9Nine News report, there are 89 applications relating to 213 people seeking visas in this category.
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton previously stated that he would welcome white South African farmers.
Dutton labelled white farmers as a persecuted group facing "horrific circumstances" of land seizures and violence and wanted his department to investigate bringing them to Australia.
Deputy Home Secretary Malisa Golightly told an Australian senate committee that she had received no specific instruction to expedite South African visa applications.
"Basically, like anybody, South Africans can apply for any visa they wish and they'll be assessed against the criterion set out in the law," said Golightly.
Golightly did not give an indication whether the visa applications were from white farmers, and insisted that applications on humanitarian grounds have to demonstrate evidence of persecution.
While Dutton's views have garnered support among some Australian politicians, as well as attorney-general Christian Porter, it appears that Golightly's views echo those of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who highlighted the country's "non-discriminatory humanitarian programme".
South Africans represent by the far the largest group of African-born residents in Australia.
Census data showed that in 2006, 41% (or 104 133) of Africans living in Australia were born in SA.
Out of all foreign-born residents, South Africans rank eighth (at 181 400), according to 2016 census data, and make up 0.8% of the Australian population.
Meanwhile, two Australian embassy officials in Pretoria have been fired in a visa approval scandal, SBS News reported.
The two were alleged to have fraudulently issued 21 Nigerian student visas between February and April 2017.
It is claimed that criminals paid the officials for visas for the Nigerian nationals, deemed as "high risk" individuals.