Refugee and International Protection
In order to be granted a protection visa in Australia, you must be recognised as a refugee under the 1951 Refugee Convention. You must be outside your home country and unable to return, due to a well-founded fear of persecution.
An asylum seeker is a person who has sought international protection but whose claim for refugee status has not yet been determined.
Well-founded fear of persecution
It is important to understand the meaning of well-founded fear of persecution before seeking protection. If you return to your home country:
- there is a real risk of being persecuted due to your race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion; and
- you will suffer one of following significant harm: (i) significant physical harassment or ill treatment, (ii) a threat to life or freedom, (iii) significant economic hardship (iv) denial of access to basic services, and (v) serious psychological harm; and
- significant harm must involve systematic and discriminatory conduct, rather than random or accidental.
For example, if you return your home country, you will be tortured (significant harm) for your political activities (political opinion) by your Government (systematic conduct).
However, you also need to consider these questions:
- Can you get protection from any organisation, authority or group in your home country?
- Can you move to another part of your country to avoid harm?
- Is there something you could do to avoid harm?
- Do you fear harm because of things that you have done in Australia?
Onshore Protection visas
Australia has three types of protection visas available for people in Australia
- Protection visa (Class XA) (Subclass 866)
For people who arrive in Australia lawfully. This visa allows you to live and work in Australia as a Permanent Resident.
- Temporary Protection visa (Class XD) (Subclass 785)
For people who arrived in Australia illegally (e.g. unauthorised maritime arrivals). This visa allows you to live and work for up to 3 years. You must ask for approval to travel to another country.
- Safe Haven Enterprise visa (Class XE) (Subclass 790)
For people who arrive in Australia illegally and intend to work and/or study in regional Australia. This visa allows you to live and work in Australia for 5 years. If you work or study fulltime for 3.5 years you can apply for other visas, like family or skilled visas (but not a protection visa).