A Guide On The Australian Protection Visa
The Australian protection visa (subclass 866) provides asylum to people who fear persecution in their home countries due to their religious beliefs, political views, race, or affiliation to a specific group. The guide below discusses the application and eligibility criteria for this visa.
People that require this visa must meet Australia's protection obligations. Typically, you must be a refugee. As such, people moving into the country due to harsh economic times are not eligible for the visa. Besides, people that have committed war crimes or severe non-war crimes cannot apply for the visa since they are considered a threat to Australian citizens.
Below are some other requirements you should meet:
- Similar to other visa applications, candidates must meet the health requirements. You need to undergo a medical assessment to ensure you do not have infectious diseases.
- The visa can only be applied by people who legally entered the country.
- The immigration department will need to verify the authenticity of your identity documents. They may also conduct some background research to ensure you are at risk of persecution.
- If you are a nationality of two or more countries, you do not qualify for the visa. The same applies if you are a refugee in another country.
- People whose protection visas have been cancelled or rejected cannot apply for the subclass 866 visa.
People that have illegally entered the country can apply for a safe haven enterprise visa (subclass 790) that is valid for five years. Alternatively, they may apply for a three-year temporary protection visa (subclass 785). Both visas are renewable.
The protection visa makes you a permanent Australian resident. Therefore, you can seek employment and study in Australia indefinitely. You can also access essential government services such as Medicare. If you are from a non-English speaking country, the government will sponsor 510 hours of English lessons.
You are allowed to bring in your immediate family members (nuclear family) and any dependable relatives. Children above 18 years and those who are married or engaged should make separate visa applications.
Subclass 866 visas have stringent regulations. For example, if you wish to return to your home country, you must seek approval from the immigration department. If you do not, you will not be allowed back into Australia since it is presumed you no longer need protection.
It is vital to hire an experienced immigration lawyer as you apply for the visa. The attorney will evaluate your situation and argue your case with the immigration department to ensure your visa is approved.