To be granted a Protection visa (subclass 866) an individual will need to be found to engage Australia’s protection obligations because they either:
- Are a refugee as defined by the Migration Act 1958
- Meet the complementary protection criteria in the Migration Act 1958.
They might also be eligible for a Protection visa if they are the family member of a person found to engage Australia’s protection obligations.
The individual and any eligible family members included in the application must be in Australia when they apply for this visa.The Protection visa (subclass 866) is a permanent visa.
This visa allows an individual to:
- Live and work in Australia as a permanent resident.
- Have access to Medicare and Centre link services.
An individual might be able to get a Protection visa (subclass 866) if all of the following apply:
- They are in Australia and they engage Australia’s protection obligations
- Did not arrive in Australia as an illegal maritime arrival or unauthorized air arrival.
- They meet one of the following criteria:
- They are a refugee as defined by the Migration Act 1958
- They meet the complementary protection criteria in the Migration Act 1958.
- They are not barred from lodging a Protection visa application
- The minister is satisfied that the grant of the visa is in the national interest.
An individual will need to pay the visa application charge for their application to be processed. If they do not pay the whole visa application charge, or are paying this charge by credit card and have insufficient funds available, their visa application will be invalid. Information about how to pay the visa charge is available.
Australia’s protection obligations:
According to the Migration Act 1958, refugees are people who are outside their home country and cannot return because they have a well-founded fear of persecution due to their:
- Political opinion
- Membership of a particular social group.
Australia is obliged under the Refugees Convention to provide protection to refugees and to ensure they are not returned to any place where they are likely to face persecution for one of the five grounds under the Migration Act 1958.
Protection can also be provided to people who cannot be returned to their home country because they engage Australia’s complementary protection obligations.
People engage protection in Australia under complementary protection obligations if there is a real risk that if they return to their home country they will suffer any of the following types of significant harm:
- Arbitrary deprivation of life
- The death penalty
- Cruel or inhuman treatment or punishment
- Degrading treatment or punishment.
Australia’s obligation not to return people who might be subject to such harm derives from international human rights treaties to which Australia is a party. These treaties are the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT).
The following people can be included in the visa application of the individual:
- Their partner (married or de facto)
- Their or their partner’s dependent children
- Other eligible dependent relatives.
The individual must meet certain character requirements. They must be prepared to provide a police certificate from each country they have lived in for 12 months or more during the past 10 years after they turned 16 years of age. They individual must not arrange for police certificates until they are asked to.
Only family members who are in Australia and whose immigration status allows them to apply can be included in the application.
Help to prepare application:
An individual can prepare and lodge their visa application them self. They can also get help from:
- Family members and friends
- Registered migration agents
- The Immigration Advice and Application Assistance Scheme if they arrived lawfully by air
- Protection Application Information and Guides.
They cannot pay their family and friends. If they have paid anyone to assist them with their application, they need to declare them on their application form.
Free migration advice and help with applications might be available through the Immigration Advice and Application Assistance Scheme (IAAAS) if they arrived lawfully by air, are in immigration detention, or in the community and are severely disadvantaged.
An individual is considered a ‘disadvantaged person’ if they are in financial hardship and disadvantaged due to one of the following:
- Non-English speaking background, youth or other cultural issues such as gender barriers
- Illiteracy in main language of country of origin
- Remote location (outside any Australian capital city, except areas with known registered migration agents)
- Physical or psychological disability, including from past torture or trauma
- Physical or psychological harm resulting from family violence.
In addition to the above-mentioned conditions, there are other factors and criteria to be taken into consideration.