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  • 15 Immigration Law
  • Permanent Visas – Humanitarian
  • Types of Australian Visas
  • Onshore – protection
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Onshore – protection

This is a highly politicised area of immigration. The controversy stems from the processes associated with the detention of people seeking asylum. Issues include long, process times for applications. There have been numerous adverse outcomes associated with the current asylum seeker process in Australia.

So-called ‘boat people’ is an issue that is highly divisive, and there are various policy positions and viewpoints around this, particularly humanitarian concerns. Without a doubt, there are significant issues with the facilities where asylum seekers are detained being run by private companies, not the government. By handing over the facilities to private companies, the government minimises the accountability of staff for treatment of detainees. Detainees are often called by their number, not name, and there have been numerous allegations of abuse.

One reason for the delay in processing asylum seekers is that the Australian government does not immediately class people arriving in Australia by boat, without a visa, as refugees. Considering the need for verifying the identity of a person, their health, and the basis of their claims where there is very little paper work available to the immigration authorities, there is little doubt that processing a claim will take some time. The process is of indeterminate length, but the validity of the applications are assessed according to the administrative standards set by the Department of Home affairs. Protection Visa (Class XA) (Subclass 866): there are several requirements for eligibility for this visa. The applicant must: be a refugee as defined under the Refugee Convention, be in Australia, pass character and security checks, undergo health examinations, and sign the Australian Values Statement. There are requirements for identification also. This protection visa gives permanent residence to a successful applicant. There is a sharp divide between people in immigration detention and those who have already entered Australia and are seeking protection. The latter category will usually be given a bridging visa whilst their Protection visa is determined, allowing them to work in the community.

Bringing family to Australia – refugees

Sometimes, family will be included in an initial visa application, for example immediate family such as a spouse and dependents. But there are many migration options for fiancés, partners, children, parents and other family members of Australian citizens. This means that the easiest way to obtain visas for family is to become a permanent resident and then an Australian citizen. Once holding a permanent humanitarian visa (including a permanent protection visa) it is possible to apply for immediate family to join you, under the ‘split family’ provisions. Full information is available on the immigration website.

Page last updated 20/09/2021

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