If you know someone who is outside of Australia and wants to apply for a Humanitarian Visa, there are five visa subclasses for offshore applicants under the Offshore Refugee and Humanitarian Visa Program that may be applicable to their circumstances.
The five visas under the Offshore Refugee and Humanitarian Visa programme are:
Refugee Visa (Subclass 200): for a person who is living outside of their home country and is subject to persecution in that country.
In-Country Special Humanitarian Visa (Subclass 201): for a person who is subject to persecution in their home country and who has not been able to leave that country to seek refuge elsewhere. Very few of these visas are granted each year.
Global Special Humanitarian Visa (Subclass 202): for a person who is living outside of their home country and is subject to substantial discrimination amounting to a gross violation of their human rights and /or persecution in that country. This is the most common offshore humanitarian visa granted by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP).
Emergency Rescue Visa (Subclass 203): for a person who is subject to persecution in their home country and faces an immediate threat to their life or personal security.
Woman at Risk Visa (Subclass 204): for a woman living outside her home country who is subject to persecution in that country, does not have the protection of a male relative and is in danger of victimisation, harassment or serious abuse because of her sex.
The brief description above is not an exhaustive list of the eligibility criteria for the visa.
When you make an application for a Refugee and Humanitarian Visa, your application is assessed against all five of the above visa subclasses.
An applicant can include their family members in an application if they meet the definition of being a “member of the family unit” for the purposes of a Humanitarian Visa.
The criteria for each of these visas vary, though in all instances, in addition to establishing you meet the basic eligibility criteria, you must establish that there are “compelling reasons” for the grant of the visa.
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection consider the following four factors in assessing whether there are compelling reasons for the grant of a Refugee and Humanitarian Visa.
1. the degree of discrimination or persecution to which the applicant is subject in the applicant’s home country;
2. the extent of the applicant’s connection with Australia (e.g. family and social connections);
3. whether or not there is any suitable country available, other than Australia, that can provide for the applicant’s settlement and protection; and
4. the capacity of the Australian community to provide for the permanent settlement of persons such as the applicant in Australia.
The degree of persecution or discrimination is the key criteria, but the other three factors are also given due weight.
Some of these visas require the applicant to be sponsored by an Australian permanent resident or Australian Citizen.
In addition to satisfying the basic eligibility criteria, all applicants must also pass health and character checks.
These visas take upwards of 12-18 months to process under usual circumstances. There are also certain process priorities that apply to these visas.
1. First preference is given to applicants who apply under the “split family provisions”, which means the applicant is sponsored by an Australian permanent resident who themselves hold a Refugee and Humanitarian Visa and wants to sponsor their partner and/or dependent children for a visa.”
2. Second preference is given to applicants sponsored by a “close family member” (who does not hold a Protection Visa).
3. Third preference is given to applicants sponsored by an “extended family member” (who does hold a Protection Visa).
4. Fourth preference is given to applicants sponsored by a distant relative or friend (who does not hold a Protection Visa).
Last preference is given to applicants sponsored by the holder of a Protection Visa or someone who arrived by boat.
Our experienced immigration lawyers have handled many successful offshore humanitarian visas for people from across the globe. We will ensure your application is given the best prospects of success possible in the circumstances.
We offer all our prospective clients an initial meeting, during which we will thoroughly explain the law surrounding Refugee and Humanitarians Visa to you and assess your eligibility for a humanitarian visa.
To organize a initial consultation with us, please contact one of our experienced immigration lawyers on (02) 9590 3987.