Refugees In Australia

There are two primary parts for Australia’s humanitarian and refugee program: Onshore component and the offshore component.

  • Onshore component – protection given to people who are claiming they are asylum or refugees as they arrive in Australia
  • Offshore component – or resettlement program, which is being used to resettle people residing outside Australia

The process as to how one person is verified whether he or she is a refugee differs from one country to another. In most of the developing countries, UNHCR makes the final decision. In some of the western countries, their governments set up their own structures, either judicial or administrative as they examine claims.

Since the year of 1993, Australia had a two-stage determination procedure, though there are a lot of changes that occur in this particular procedure.

Starting in 2001, the procedures differ from people who arrived without their valid visas by boat, and those who arrived with their valid visa by plane. It was year 2014, in the month of December, where Australia ran a totally different procedure to those refugees who reached Australia riding a boat on 15 August 2012 or after that.

For those people with valid visas

Application to Department

A person who has a visa applies directly to DIBP by giving information regarding their claims and identity. Applications will be assessed by designated officers from the department. The officer will determine whether he or she meets the required criteria to get a visa. The key criterion is that the person cannot return to his or her origin under the international law or the applicant is a refugee. As part of the process, the officer in charge will conduct an interview and ask applicants necessary questions.

Applications are accepted either by family groups or individuals. For family groups, the claims and identity of each of the family member will be examined. It is somehow possible, that the head of the family (male) is not a refugee but his children and wife might be.

The applicants together with their families should also meet other important criteria, including security checks and health. Applications could be rejected or accepted.

Reviewed by tribunal

In the event that his or her application is denied or rejected, he or she can seek help from AAT to review the rejection. AAT is currently taking over the work of RRT. They are an independent statutory group which checks on the verdict.

They can agree or disagree to the decision that was given by the Department. In case the decision made by the Department is wrong, the Department should consider the person’s qualification for protection, hence finalise processing.

In case the AAT’s decision is the same as with the Department, there are still other options like asking another review from the Federal Circuit Court.