Protection Visa (866)

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Protection Visa (866)

Asylum Seekers and Refugees – Protection Visas

Protection law is the most complex area of immigration law and had given rise to more litigation in the courts than all other areas of immigration laws combined. As specialists in this area we maintain extensive databases of decisions and applicable country information which assists case officers to make the most accurate assessment on the case of our clients.

Seeking Protection in Australia

Australia provides protection for asylum seekers who:

  • meet the United Nations definition of a refugee, as defined in the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol (Refugees Convention)

  • are owed protection under other international human rights treaties and conventions which give rise to complementary protection obligations.

The Refugee Convention

Australia is one of 147 signatory countries to the Refugees Convention.

The Refugees Convention defines a refugee as a person who:

  • is outside their country of nationality or their usual country of residence

  • is unable or unwilling to return or to seek the protection of that country due to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion

  • is not a war criminal and has not committed any serious non-political crimes or acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations

Complementary Protection

From 24 March 2012, complementary protection claims have been considered as part of the protection visa assessment process. Complementary protection is the term used to describe a category of protection for people who are not refugees but cannot be returned to their home country, in line with Australia’s international obligations, because there is a real risk that the person will suffer certain types of harm.

How claims are assessed

Applications for protection visas are assessed by trained departmental officers.

All claims for protection are assessed confidentiality on an individual basis against the criteria contained in the Refugees Convention and the complementary protection criteria, in accordance with Australian legislation, case law and up-to-date information on conditions in the applicant’s country of origin.

People who are found to be owed protection are eligible for the grant of a protection visa in Australia, provided they satisfy health, character and security checks.

Merits review of decisions

Where an application by a person in Australia is refused by the department, that person can seek a merits review of that decision from an independent tribunal either the Refugee Review Tribunal (RRT) or the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT), depending on the basis for refusal.

The RRT conducts a new assessment and examines the applicant’s claims against the Refugees Convention and the complementary protection criteria, providing an informal, non-adversarial setting to hear evidence.

If the RRT is unable to make a decision favourable to the applicant on the written evidence available, it must give the applicant the opportunity for a hearing. A fee of becomes payable by the applicant if the RRT affirms the original refusal decision.

Protection visa applicants who have been rejected by the RRT (and who have no other legal reason to be in Australia) have 28 days to depart Australia. If they stay beyond this 28-day period, they may be removed from Australia.

Status while processing

Asylum seekers that have arrived in Australia legally and subsequently apply for protection may receive a bridging visa upon lodging a protection visa application. In most cases, the bridging visa allows the applicant to remain lawfully in the community until the protection visa application is finalised.

FAQ – Protection Visas

AAT Video Conference Hearings Security.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the capacity of the Tribunal to conduct hearings in person and the move to hearings by video conference was made to enable it to continue to meet its objectives. The Tribunal has elected to use the Microsoft Teams application within our Microsoft Azure cloud tenancy to conduct hearings by video because it has the functionality and security to meet the Tribunal’s needs and could be quickly deployed and accessed by users.

Source: Letter from AAT

What is Onshore Protection? 

The Onshore protection part of the Refugee and Humanitarian Program gives you options if you believe you are owed protection after arrival in Australia.

You can apply for protection if you are already in Australia if one of the following applies to you:

  • you meet the United Nations definition of a refugee, as defined in the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol (Refugees Convention)

  • you are owed protection under other international human rights treaties and conventions because there is a real risk that you will suffer from significant harm if returned to your country (complementary protection)

What is Australia’s Refugee and Humanitarian Program all about?

As a member of the international community, Australia shares responsibility for protecting refugees and helping to resolve  refugee situations. We express this commitment through our Refugee and Humanitarian Program. The program has two parts:

  • The Onshore protection offers protection component for persons already in Australia who are found to be a refugee according to the Refugee Convention or who meet the C.P test.

  • The Offshore resettlement component for persons outside Australia who are subject to persecution or substantial discrimination.

What is Offshore Resettlement?

The Offshore resettlement part of the Refugee and Humanitarian Programme brings people to Australia to live. We offer three types of permanent visas:

  • Refugee visas

  • Special humanitarian visas

  • visas granted under the Community Proposal Pilot.

How can a protection visa holder request permission to travel to their home country?

​A protection visa holder with Condition 8559 attached to their visa must apply to the Department for permission to travel to their home country, or country from which they sought protection, before they depart. 

They may make their request in writing or orally in person or by telephone at any office of the Department.

How long will it take to process my application for a Refugee or Humanitarian visa?

See Refugee or Humanitarian Program Visa Processing Times for offshore humanitarian and onshore protection.

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Talk to Experts

Need assistance in your next visa application process?

If you need to apply for a visa and want the process as smooth of an experience possible, talk with one our Migration Experts. Alongside their expert knowledge about migration laws they will make sure your application goes through quickly so that all eyes can stay on what really matters you.

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Level 3, 83 York Street Sydney NSW 2000


02 9286 8700