Since World War II, Australia has been one of the leading countries in providing protection to refugees, asylees and displaced persons, in order to start a new life free of violence. Therefore, in 1951 the government joined the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the Geneva Convention; and in 1992 it formed the current Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, which is attached to the judicial system and the courts.
However, given the extensive experience of the Australian government in international protection, it has established a range of visas that support the humanitarian program by which it is governed (SHP). Undoubtedly, there are many options for foreigners who require help; fact that justifies that for 2021 the number of applications is around 13,000.
Based on these numbers, it is considered that the percentage of acceptance of protection is high, being 16%, which represents the approval of 2,000 cases per year. The main beneficiaries to date have been foreigners from China, Malaysia, Yemen, Libya, Afghanistan, India and Iran. Keep reading and discover the steps to follow to find help in the fascinating Australian territory.
First considerations for applying for asylum in Australia
To start with, keep in mind that anyone wishing to enter Australia must have a visa, with the exception of New Zealand citizens. Therefore, if you approach one of the country’s entry points without legal permission, you will be detained by the competent authorities, even if you express the need to apply for asylum.
Said detention is applied in accordance with the Policy for the Determination of Protection Obligations, whose objective is to expedite the processing of people who have been detained for illegal access to the country, but require a humanitarian visa. It should be noted that there are several permanence centers, such as:
- Christmas Island, in the Indian Ocean (intended mainly for people who enter without authorization by sea)
- Nauru Island in the Pacific Ocean
- Papua New Ginea, on the Pacific Ocean (intended for foreigners from Indonesia)
As you will see, the places of stay during the resolution of the case are outside the Australian territory, which has been established since 2013. A decision that has been criticized by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); but in which it has no interference.
On the other hand, it is essential to consider that there are different kinds of humanitarian visas that you can use immediately after starting the asylum process. Although the Special Humanitarian Program (SHP) is the best known in general.
Requirements and procedure to apply for asylum
According to Australian refugee law, a person who arrives in the country and wishes to apply for asylum must:
- Being outside the country of origin. This fact does not imply that the person is located in Australia, since they accept requests from abroad.
- Possess evidence that supports persecution or discrimination in the home country, whether for religious, racial, political, etc.
- Have identification documents that can be validated at the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs.
When you meet these requirements, then you can contact the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs or go to the embassy in the country where you are. From there, only the case officers will indicate the next steps, as well as the category in which you can apply, which are:
- Special Humanitarian Program (SHP). Here are those individuals who have suffered serious discrimination in their country of origin mainly on racial, gender and religious issues. Keep in mind that fleeing due to war, hunger or generalized violence are not reasons to apply to the program.
- Shelter. It is the category assigned to those who have suffered persecution due to ideological differences, especially of a political nature. It should be noted that it is not valid for people who have applied economic fraud or corruption.
Class of visas for applicants outside of Australia
As we mentioned in the previous sections, the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs have developed a set of visas for the categories of assistance to foreigners who are located outside of Australia. They are:
Also known as the “class 200”, it is the one granted to a greater extent to citizens who have suffered persecution for ideological concepts other than those of the government of their country. However, any other type of serious harassment may be valid for this visa.
It should be noted that the UNHCR plays a crucial role in determining the people who meet this need, one of its members being the one who urgently refers the case to the Australian government. Hence, the analysis of the procedure is thorough, since it is a permanent residence within the country, which in turn grants the right to relocate in the same way to direct family members and dependents.
Other benefits are:
- Work permit
- Social Security
- Opt for Australian citizenship
Class 201 Visa
Although it is one of the least common, it has been created to help people who, despite being persecuted, have not been able to leave the country that instills fear and puts their integrity at risk. The idea is not to facilitate international protection procedures and which country considered safe can carry out the relocation.
Global Visa: class 202
It applies to individuals who are victims of violations of their human rights. Candidates for the global visa must be outside the country of origin and have a link and support from a person or organization with legal status in Australia.
Like class 200, it is a permanent residence, in which the case holder’s partner and dependent family members can benefit jointly. Everyone will have the right to education at different levels, to employment, public health and to aspire to Australian citizenship.
Emergency Rescue: class 203
It is similar to the accelerated process that most European Union countries have, but with the exception that it is to quickly grant refugee status. It applies when the freedom of the case holder is in danger in his native country or country of habitual residence.
The UNHCR has great participation in the election of the candidates for the class 203 visa. For this, it is necessary to present convincing evidence of the persecution or unjustified reason for a deprivation of liberty and life.
Woman at Risk: class 204
Violence against women is one of the most controversial issues in society, which is why the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs has created the class 204 visa exclusively dedicated to women who have been abused. The basic requirement is that the person does not have any male support.
Visa for Applicants in Australia
The visa that is assigned to foreigners who apply for asylum in Australia and enter legally is called protection class XA. It is governed by the Refugee Convention, which stipulates that the person does not have another nation that provides security.
To apply for the class XA protection visa, the individual must go to the corresponding authorities and announce their request. After that, the steps to follow are:
- Submit Australian Government Security Assessments
- undergoing medical tests
- Sign the Australian Values Statement
In this case, you can live freely in the country while the case is resolved and a temporary work permit is usually granted. The enjoyment of public services only applies when the resolution is approved.
Is it a good option to ask for asylum in Australia?
Currently, Australia is one of the countries most criticized internationally for the detection it makes of foreigners who do not have a visa. Likewise, due to the conditions of the different detention centers. However, this does not stop people who seek to leave their countries of origin, as they are persecuted and violated.
Undoubtedly, the best option is to travel legally to the territory, to avoid such detection and, in addition, to be able to move and even work during the time the procedure lasts. And it is that once the visa is approved, the benefits are excellent for the applicants and their families.