Australia offers Protection Visas to people who are in Australia and who cannot return to their home country because they are refugees.
What is an onshore humanitarian visa?
Australia offers onshore humanitarian visas, known as ‘protection visas’ to refugees who cannot return to their home country.
The following onshore 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 temporary protection visa)
- Temporary Protection visa (subclass 785) (3-year temporary protection visa)
An onshore protection visa allows you to live, work and study in Australia.
What are the requirements of an onshore humanitarian visa?
You may be eligible for an onshore humanitarian visa, known as a ‘protection visa’ if you are already in Australia and 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.
To meet the requirements for an onshore protection visa, you must be found to be a refugee or to engage Australia’s complementary protection obligations. The requirements of an onshore protection visa can be quite complicated. In general you need to show:
- You are at risk of persecution or serious harm in your home country
- You are at risk of persecution because of your race, nationality, religion, political opinion
- You are unable to move to another part of your home country where you would be safe
- The authorities in your home country are unable to unwilling to protect you
- You meet Australia’s identity, health and character requirements
Our migration lawyers are very experienced in protection matters and we recommend that you obtain migration advice when applying for a protection visa. This is because it is a thorough and complicated process and it can take a long time to receive a decision. Our migration lawyers can advise you on how to prepare a strong application and what your chances of success are.
Can I appeal a refusal of an onshore humanitarian visa?
If you have had a visa refused in Australia, you may be eligible to appeal the visa refusal to a tribunal or a court. Generally, onshore protection visas refusal decisions can be appealed.
You should read your onshore protection visa refusal notice carefully because each decision is different. This letter should advise:
- 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.
The most common place to appeal an onshore protection visa refusal decision to is the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). There are strict time limits when appealing to the AAT so it is very important to read the appeal deadline in your visa refusal letter carefully. Unfortunately, AAT appeal deadlines cannot be extended. You can read more about this process on our Administrative Appeals Tribunal page.
Some onshore protection visa cases may be appealed to the Immigration Assessment Authority (IAA). If this is the case then your refusal notice should state this clearly. You can learn more about the IAA here.
Some visa refusal decisions are appealed to the courts instead. For example, when the Minister for Immigration personally decides to refuse a visa based on character grounds. You can read more about this process on our Court appeals page.
If you are intending to seek legal assistance with your appeal, we recommend you do so as early as possible.