What humanitarian/refugee visa can be obtained from outside Australia?
From 9 August 2008, any person inside Australia who applies to Protection will be considered only for a Permanent Protection visa (“PPV”) subclass 866 (i.e. Temporary Protection visa subclass 785 were abolished on that date). From 3 of June 2013 Condition 8559 was introduced to address the Government’s concern about a small number of people who are granted a protection visa by Australia in recognition of their fear of persecution or significant harm, and then return to their home country for lengthy periods.
- makes you a permanent resident of Australia;
- entitles you to English language classes;
- entitles you to full social security benefits including Medicare;
- allows you to sponsor your family;
- allows you to work;
- allows you access to settlement support services; and
- allows you to leave and re-enter Australia.
Eligibility for a PPV
To be eligible for this visa, you must:
- be in Australia;
- be a refugee or have been granted Complementary Protection;
- not be excluded from protection;
- be immigration cleared. – this means that you must have entered Australia with valid travel documents and a valid visa, and have been cleared by customs in Australia, and pass the character and health requirements (note: these requirements are slightly different for Protection visa applicants than for non-protection visa applicants).
When will Australia not protect me?
Generally, you are excluded from obtaining a Protection visa in Australia if:
- you can obtain ‘effective protection’ from a country other than Australia; and/or
- you have voluntarily re-availed yourself of protection in your country of nationality; and/or
- you have acquired a new nationality; and/or
- you have voluntarily re-established yourself in the country where you feared persecution, and/or
- you have committed war crimes, serious non-political crimes, or are guilty of acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
Making a valid application
The forms required and listed below can be obtained in a paper by visiting a Department of Home Affairs (DoHA) office in person or electronic format by visiting the DoHA website. To make a valid application you must make yourself available at DoHA to provide your biometrics (ie., your photo and fingerprints to be taken). The PPV visa application form Form 866 Application for a Protection (Class XA) visa is comprised of: – Section A – This is for information only. You should read Section A carefully. – Section B – only one form is to be completed for each application but this should list all members of the family unit; – Section C – One form is to be completed by each member of the family unit who has claimed, in their own right, to be a refugee. You should set out, in this form (or if necessary, using extra paper), the details of why you claim to be a refugee. You may need to get extra copies of this form from the Department. – Section D – One Section D form is to be completed by each member of the family unit who is mentioned in Section B, but has not filled in Section C (i.e., each person named as a member of the family unit in Section B, who does not have their own claims for refugee status in Australia, will have to fill in Section D). You may need to get extra copies of this form from the DHA. An application checklist is provided with Section A of the form. Make sure you refer to the checklist before you lodge your application. Your application must include original and certified copies of:
- All pages of passport / other travel documents held by all people in the application;
- Birth certificates for all people included in the application;
- Marriage certificate (if applicable);
- Evidence of joint finances and other proof of an ongoing relationship (if you are in a ‘defacto relationship’);
- Evidence of dependency for ‘dependents’ over 18 years of age.
DoHA will return all original documents to you during the application process and will retain the certified copies. Documents which are not in English should be accompanied by an English translation by a NAATI accredited translator. If you cannot provide any relevant documents at the time of application, you still can lodge your application with an explanation as to which documents you intend to provide in the future, and why they cannot be provided at the time of lodgement. DoHA must process these applications within 90 days of lodgement, so it is important that you provide all relevant information to the DoHA as soon as possible. Under Australia’s migration legislation, a valid application for a PPV application on Form 866 is also an application for a Bridging visa. If granted, the Bridging visa will allow you to remain in Australia lawfully until your application has been determined, and generally will allow you to work. In some circumstances (eg, if you bypassed immigration clearance) you may not be eligible for a Bridging visa.
Can I work in Australia while my Protection visa application is being processed?
On 1 July 2009, the “45-day rule” which previously determined which Protection visa applicants could have the right to work was abolished. The right to work is now determined by the type of Bridging visa held by the PPV visa applicant. If you hold a Bridging visa A or B (i.e. you lodged your Protection visa application when you held a valid substantive visa) you will be permitted to work. If you hold a Bridging visa C (i.e. you voluntarily lodged your Protection visa application while unlawful) you will be permitted to work if you can demonstrate a “compelling need to work”. If you hold a Bridging visa E (i.e. you lodged your Protection visa application while holding a Bridging visa E or while unlawful having previously held a Bridging visa E) you will be permitted to work if you can demonstrate a “compelling need to work” and acceptable reasons for the delay in making your Protection visa application (e.g. due to serious illness).
Where can I get financial assistance if I can not work?
You may be eligible to get assistance under the Asylum Seekers Assistance Scheme. You should contact the DoHA, or the Australian Red Cross, to check your eligibility under that scheme.
How can I help you obtain Australian refugee status and prepare your visa application documents?
From the 12th of March 2014, all requests regarding obtaining refugee status, assessment of individual circumstances, and assistance with the confirmation of refugee status in relation to individuals and their family members are carried out only within the Detailed Migration Consultation in accordance with the requirements of “Code of Conduct sec. 2.6-2.7”. Within the consultation, we will review your circumstances and provide guidance of what is possible and necessary to do in your specific situation in order to prove your status to delegate of the Department of Home Affairs (DoHA) and therefore to facilitate a pathway to permanent residence. As part of the consultation, recommendations will be developed and given regarding a possible immigration strategy, and what exactly can be done specifically in your case for immigration to Australia as a refugee. If you need advice, please follow the link below for a paid consultation. Based on the information received during the paid consultation, you can make an informative decision and start the immigration process. All requests for assistance in obtaining refugee status in Australia will be considered by me as the highest priority. If you find yourself in a similar situation, do not hesitate, contact me on this matter.