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Refugee, Humanitarian and Protection Visas

Australia offers Refugee, Humanitarian and Protection Visas to refugees who cannot return to their home country. 

These visas allow you to live, work and study in Australia.


What refugee, humanitarian and protection visas are available in Australia?

The following protection visas can be applied for if you are in Australia:

  • Protection visa (subclass 866) (permanent visa)
  • Safe Haven Enterprise visa (subclass 790) (5-year visa)
  • Temporary Protection visa (subclass 785) (3-year visa)

If you are not in Australia, you may be able to apply for one of the following humanitarian visas:

  • Refugee visa (subclass 200)
  • In Country Special Humanitarian visa (subclass 201)
  • Global Special Humanitarian visa (subclass 202)
  • Woman at Risk visa (subclass 204)

How do I apply for a refugee, humanitarian or protection visa? What are the requirements for a protection visa?

You may be eligible for a refugee, humanitarian or protection visa if you cannot return to your home country because you fear that you will be persecuted because of your race, nationality, religion, political opinion, or membership of a particular social group or because you fear significant harm.

You can apply for a protection visa by filling out the appropriate form and lodging it by post or online through ImmiAccount.

It is important to know what kind of humanitarian visa you are eligible to apply for. Refugee and protection visas are complicated visas so we recommend that you seek advice from a migration lawyer before making an application.

What is the Special Humanitarian Program?

The Special Humanitarian Program relates to a group of humanitarian visas available to people outside of Australia. You may be eligible for the Special Humanitarian Program if:

  • You are outside Australia
  • You are living outside your home country
  • You are subject to substantial discrimination in your home country amounting to a gross violation of your human rights
  • You are proposed by an Australian citizen or Permanent resident, an Eligible New Zealand citizen, or an organisation based in Australia

Your proposer can be a person or business that is part of the Community Support Program (CSP) and can help you settle in Australia.

For more information or to find out how to get involved with the CSP, book a free 10 minute consultation online with our immigration lawyers.

Can I appeal a Special Humanitarian Program visa refusal decision? 

Most Australian visa refusal decisions can be appealed. However, some visas, such as the Offshore Humanitarian Refugee visa (subclass 200) cannot be appealed. Instead it is an option to apply again for the subclass 200 visa.

You should read your visa refusal notice carefully to understand:

  • if you have the right to appeal your decision
  • the timeframe available to lodge the appeal
  • the relevant appeal body your appeal should be directed to.

If your letter does not outline this information we suggest that you obtain legal advice.

We also recommend you receive immigration advice from a lawyer before lodging your visa appeal so that you can learn if your visa appeal is likely to win. In some cases a visa appeal cannot win because certain visa criteria have not been met. In other cases it may be better to apply for another or reapply with better evidence.

Book a free 10 minute consultation online with our immigration lawyers to discuss refugee, protection and humanitarian visa options. 

An experienced migration lawyer can make all the difference when you need.

Related Resources

Important changes to the processing of Protection visas

The Minister for Home Affairs has recently announced an investment of $54 million into ‘’real-time processing’’ of new protection visa applications which will result in faster and more efficient processing of newly lodged applications.

Hong Kong protection visa webinar

Last week, Rabiah and James co-hosted a webinar with Australia Hong Kong Link and Haven Assistance to discuss the recent changes for Hong Kong passport holders and protection visas in Australia.