If you have a friend or family member residing outside Australia seeking a Humanitarian Visa, there are five visa subclasses available for offshore applicants under the Offshore Refugee and Humanitarian Visa Program that may be relevant to their situation.
Five visa subclasses:
The Visas The Offshore Refugee and Humanitarian Visa program comprises the following five visa subclasses:
1. Refugee Visa (Subclass 200): Intended for individuals living outside their home country and facing persecution in that country.
2. In-Country Special Humanitarian Visa (Subclass 201): Designed for individuals subject to persecution in their home country and unable to leave to seek refuge elsewhere; however, only a limited number of these visas are granted annually.
3. Global Special Humanitarian Visa (Subclass 202): Targeted at individuals living outside their home country and experiencing substantial discrimination amounting to a gross violation of their human rights and/or persecution in that country. This is the most commonly granted offshore humanitarian visa by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP).
4. Emergency Rescue Visa (Subclass 203): Geared towards individuals facing persecution in their home country with an immediate threat to their life or personal security.
5. Woman at Risk Visa (Subclass 204): Intended for women residing outside their home country, facing persecution, lacking the protection of a male relative, and at risk of victimization, harassment, or serious abuse due to their gender.
Eligibility Criteria for the Visas
When applying for a Refugee and Humanitarian Visa, your application is evaluated against all five visa subclasses. Family members meeting the definition of a “member of the family unit” for Humanitarian Visa purposes can be included in the application.
Criteria for each visa differ, but all applicants must establish “compelling reasons” for visa approval, in addition to meeting basic eligibility criteria. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection considers four factors:
1. The degree of discrimination or persecution in the applicant’s home country.
2. The applicant’s connection with Australia (e.g., family and social ties).
3. The availability of suitable settlement and protection options in countries other than Australia.
4. The Australian community’s capacity to facilitate the permanent settlement of applicants.
While persecution or discrimination degree is a key criterion, the other three factors also carry weight. Some visas require sponsorship by an Australian permanent resident or citizen. In addition to meeting basic eligibility criteria, all applicants must undergo health and character checks.
Under normal circumstances, visa processing takes 12-18 months, with certain priorities:
1. First preference: Applicants under “split family provisions” sponsored by an Australian permanent resident holding a Refugee and Humanitarian Visa.
2. Second preference: Applicants sponsored by a “close family member” without a Protection Visa.
3. Third preference: Applicants sponsored by an “extended family member” with a Protection Visa.
4. Fourth preference: Applicants sponsored by a distant relative or friend without a Protection Visa.
5. Last preference: Applicants sponsored by a holder of a Protection Visa or someone who arrived by boat.
Our experienced immigration lawyers have successfully handled numerous offshore humanitarian visas globally. We ensure your application has the best chance of success. For an initial consultation, contact one of our experienced immigration lawyers at +91 81300 78449.