Possible Pathway for certain Asylum Seekers to Australian Permanent Residency
In December 2014 the Australian Government passed the Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment (resolving the Asylum Seeker Caseload) Act 2014 ("The Asylum Seeker Caseload Act"). One of the options may be to lead to Australian permanent residence visas for asylum seekers.
The Asylum Seeker Caseload Act directly affects persons who arrived in Australia by boat without a valid visa (asylum seekers or "irregular maritime arrivals") between 13 August 2012 and 31 December 2013.
Under the Asylum Seeker Caseload Act, these asylum seekers will need to wait to be invited by the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection to make an application for either a Temporary Protection Visa (which if granted is valid for 3 years) or a Safe Haven Enterprise Visa (which if granted is valid for 5 years). The Australian Government intends to "fast track" such applications.
Safe Haven Enterprise Visa holders who have worked in regional Australia without access to income support for 3.5 years would be eligible to apply for other visas (Such as Partner, Skilled or Student Visas) if they satisfy the relevant criteria for those visas. Therefore, the visa has the potential to (eventually) provide permanent residency.
These asylum seekers cannot apply for Australian Permanent Protection Visas.
When asylum seekers receive an invitation they must act quickly to lodge their application. It is most important that the application be a complete application. This means that even before an asylum seeker is invited that asylum seeker should commence preparation of the application ready for lodgement. If the application under the Asylum Legacy Caseload Act is not successful than that applicant MAY be referred by the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection to the Immigration Assessment Authority for appeal.
If not referred to the Immigration Assessment Authority there may still be avenues available to appeal to the appropriate Federal Court. Each case depends on its own facts.
Except in limited circumstances, the Immigration Assessment Authority will only consider the information that was presented by the asylum seeker to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. That is another reason to make sure the application is as complete as possible. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection is currently inviting asylum seekers who arrived between 14 November 2012 and 30 April 2013 to apply. Do not delay when an invitation is received.
Article uploaded 6 October 2015