Refugee & Humanitarian Visas

If you are seeking protection in Australia, are located in Australia and you arrived lawfully, you may be eligible to apply for a Permanent Protection (subclass 866) Visa.

As a summary, you may be eligible for this visa if:

  • you are in Australia and you entered Australia with a valid visa
  • you are claiming Australia’s protection as a refugee or under Australia’s complementary protection scheme; and
  • you are not barred from lodging a Protection visa application

What are the visa requirements for a protection visa application?

In order to be recognised as a refugee under Australian law, you must demonstrate that there is a real chance that you will be seriously harmed in your country of origin because of your:

  • race
  • religion
  • nationality
  • political opinion; and/or
  • membership of a particular social group, such as sexuality including gay, lesbian, transsexual or any type of sexual preference that your country does not accept

Sometimes claims for protection can consist of a combination of the above.

In order to meet the requirements of a Protection visa in Australia as a person owed complementary protection by Australia, you must prove that as a necessary and foreseeable consequence of your removal to your country of origin, you would face a real risk of one or more of the following forms of significant harm:

  • arbitrary deprivation of life
  • the death penalty
  • torture
  • cruel or inhuman treatment or punishment; and/or
  • degrading treatment or punishment.

In addition to demonstrating that you meet one or more of the grounds for protection, you must also pass the relevant identity, health and character checks.

Other criteria also apply for an application for a Permanent Protection visa. Please consult us for more details.

You are able to include family members in your subclass 866 visa application if they satisfy particular criteria, and they are also in Australia. Please consult us for more details.

What are the benefits of obtaining a permanent protection visa?

A Permanent Protection (subclass 866) Visa allows you to:

  • stay in Australia indefinitely
  • work and study in Australia
  • enrol in Medicare, Australia’s health care scheme
  • apply for Australian citizenship once you are eligible
  • sponsor eligible relatives for permanent residence; and
  • travel to and from Australia for five years from the date the visa is granted (after that time, you will need a resident return visa or another visa to return to Australia). You will not, however, be able to travel to the country from which you have sought protection unless the Minister has approved the entry in writing

How we can help with your Permanent Protection Visa application

Proving that you are a refugee is often very difficult. The test for refugee status is future-focused. This means that whether you face a real chance or risk of harm will be assessed at the time the Department is looking at your case, not just by reference to what has happened to you previously. Even though you may have suffered a gross violation of your human rights in the past, you will need to show that you will still be at risk of further serious or significant harm in the future if you return to your country of origin.

The processing time for a decision on your Protection visa application can take many years. This is because the Department is looking into your visa application to determine whether the claims that you have made are true and correct and are well-founded. While you wait for your Protection visa application to be determined, you will usually hold a Bridging visa to ensure that you are lawful in Australia. If you have already lodged a Protection visa application but do not hold a Bridging visa, please contact an immigration lawyer immediately.

It is critical that you have excellent legal representation to ensure that you have the best chance of success.

Each country where the applicant is seeking protection from will have different circumstances. This is why it is better to consult an immigration lawyer who can assist you with preparing your Protection visa application, researching country information and putting forward the best submissions that are credible, logical and persuasive and assist the Departmental case officer in making a decision on your visa application.

We have assisted protection visa applicants from all over the world who have escaped death, torture and other forms of mistreatment. Our wealth of knowledge about each country sets us apart.

Over the past 30 years, we have acted in over 9,000 protection visa matters and have extensive knowledge and experience in this field. We highly recommend that you contact one of our experienced immigration lawyers to obtain advice prior to lodging your visa application.

This page provides a summary of the 866 visa as at October 2021. Australian immigration law is complex and changes frequently. We strongly recommend that you contact us to confirm the requirements for an 866 visa and consult with one of our experienced immigration lawyers.

Back to Refugee & Humanitarian Visas

If you believe you will be seriously harmed in your country of origin because of your race; religion; nationality; political opinion; and/or membership of a particular social group, such as sexuality including gay, lesbian, transsexual or any type of sexual preference that your country does not accept, then you may meet the requirements for an Australian onshore Protection visa.