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the dha’s sudden surge to clear the ‘legacy caseload’ places asylum seekers at risk

28 May 2021
kian bone daniel brooke-jackson
Read Time 4 mins reading time

In a surprise move by the Department of Home Affairs, over a thousand Asylum Seekers who arrived by boat prior to 2014 have been given just two weeks to prepare for critical interviews which will determine their right to stay in Australia. Known as fast-track applicants, many of these asylum seekers have waited upwards of 8 years to have their protection applications assessed.

‘Fast track’ applicants are defined under the Migration Act as all those unauthorised arrivals who arrived by boat (without a valid visa) between 13 August 2012 and 1 January 2014 and were not taken to Nauru or Papua New Guinea for offshore processing.

Under the Act, fast-track applicants needed to receive a formal invitation from the Minister to apply for asylum. These applicants, now referred to as the ‘legacy caseload’ can only apply for a three-year Temporary Protection Visa (subclass 785) or a five-year Safe Haven Enterprise Visa (subclass 790). Many of these asylum seekers received that invitation over 8 years ago and quickly submitted their applications, in the limited timeframe available.

After years of those applications sitting idle, the Department has now scheduled over 1,200 first interviews which are critical for applicants to establish their rights to remain in Australia. Given the amount of evidence required it is highly doubtful that applicants, only some of whom have access to legal representation, will be able to prepare sufficient cases in the short timeframe. These interviews are so crucial because they are essentially the only opportunity for applicants to present their case for protection, with limited options for review.

If applicants are refused by the Department their cases are referred to the Immigration Assessment Authority (IAA). The IAA, however, is only capable of reviewing applications based on the existing documents presented to the Department and can only consider new information in ‘exceptional circumstances’. Given that the IAA has rejected 94% of cases that it has reviewed and lacks the wider ranging review powers of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, this is not a viable avenue for many applicants.

In the context of drastic funding cuts to community legal services by the Federal Government and the complex and ever-changing nature of Australia’s immigration law, legal representation is vital to ensure a fair hearing.

how mk’s migration team can help

Our expert immigration lawyers have extensive experience with the Fast-Track asylum seeker case load. Please contact our offices should you, or someone you know require assistance.

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the dha’s sudden surge to clear the ‘legacy caseload’ places asylum seekers at risk

28 May 2021
kian bone daniel brooke-jackson

In a surprise move by the Department of Home Affairs, over a thousand Asylum Seekers who arrived by boat prior to 2014 have been given just two weeks to prepare for critical interviews which will determine their right to stay in Australia. Known as fast-track applicants, many of these asylum seekers have waited upwards of 8 years to have their protection applications assessed.

‘Fast track’ applicants are defined under the Migration Act as all those unauthorised arrivals who arrived by boat (without a valid visa) between 13 August 2012 and 1 January 2014 and were not taken to Nauru or Papua New Guinea for offshore processing.

Under the Act, fast-track applicants needed to receive a formal invitation from the Minister to apply for asylum. These applicants, now referred to as the ‘legacy caseload’ can only apply for a three-year Temporary Protection Visa (subclass 785) or a five-year Safe Haven Enterprise Visa (subclass 790). Many of these asylum seekers received that invitation over 8 years ago and quickly submitted their applications, in the limited timeframe available.

After years of those applications sitting idle, the Department has now scheduled over 1,200 first interviews which are critical for applicants to establish their rights to remain in Australia. Given the amount of evidence required it is highly doubtful that applicants, only some of whom have access to legal representation, will be able to prepare sufficient cases in the short timeframe. These interviews are so crucial because they are essentially the only opportunity for applicants to present their case for protection, with limited options for review.

If applicants are refused by the Department their cases are referred to the Immigration Assessment Authority (IAA). The IAA, however, is only capable of reviewing applications based on the existing documents presented to the Department and can only consider new information in ‘exceptional circumstances’. Given that the IAA has rejected 94% of cases that it has reviewed and lacks the wider ranging review powers of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, this is not a viable avenue for many applicants.

In the context of drastic funding cuts to community legal services by the Federal Government and the complex and ever-changing nature of Australia’s immigration law, legal representation is vital to ensure a fair hearing.

how mk’s migration team can help

Our expert immigration lawyers have extensive experience with the Fast-Track asylum seeker case load. Please contact our offices should you, or someone you know require assistance.