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Refugee, Humanitarian and Protection Visas

This visa class is designed to offer protection to people who are persecuted or discriminated against in their country of origin and who do not have the protection of that country. They may also be granted to the immediate family of permanent refugee or humanitarian visa holders in Australia.

A refugee is someone who is subject to persecution in his/her home country for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. Visas in the humanitarian category may be available to people who are subject to substantial discrimination amounting to gross violation of human rights in their country of origin. To be eligible for either of these visa types, the person usually must not have the protection of another country.

The visa options available to a person will depend in part on whether they are applying from within Australia or outside Australia, and advice should be sought. Strict quotas apply to people applying from outside Australia, and priority is given to the immediate family (parents of minors, spouses and dependent children) of permanent refugee or humanitarian visa holders in Australia.

Recent High Court decision

Information for proposers who arrived in Australia as minors

On the 14th December 2011, in the case of Shahi, the High Court of Australia held that a Global Special Humanitarian visa should be granted to the mother of a refugee. The proposer had been under the age of 18 when the application for his mother was lodged but, by the time of the decision, had turned 18 and the application was refused because of this. Humanitarian applications by children under 18 are given priority under Australian migration law so they can be reunited with their parents, but it was not clear whether this priority still existed if they became adults before a decision was made on their parent(s)’ application.

Anyone who has had an humanitarian visa application for a parent refused for the reason that their parent was no longer deemed to be a member of their immediate family may now have grounds to appeal that decision, subject to relevant time limits.

Such persons are urged to seek legal advice as soon as possible about whether this decision may have an effect on their family’s chances of migration under the Humanitarian Programme.

Refugee, Humanitarian and Protection Visas  :  Last Revised: Wed Jun 4th 2014
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