Refusal of a Temporary Protection visa or Safe Haven Enterprise visa application

Your application for a Temporary Protection visa (TPV) or Safe Haven Enterprise visa (SHEV) will be refused if you do not meet the criteria for the visa. We will write to you to explain the reasons for refusing your protection visa.

If you do not engage Australia's protection obligations and you do not hold another visa, you do not have a lawful right to stay in Australia. You will be expected to return home or to another safe country where you have right of entry.

If you do not depart voluntarily and become unlawful in Australia, we will take steps to remove you from Australia.

Your review rights

The process for getting your protection visa refusal decision reviewed will depend on when and how you arrived in Australia.

If you arrived illegally by boat on or after 13 August 2012

If you arrived illegally by boat on or after 13 August 2012 but before 1 January 2014 and have not been taken to a regional processing country, your application might have been processed under the Fast Track Assessment process. The Fast Track Application process changes the way your case is handled when your application is refused. We will tell you if your application has been processed under the Fast Track Assessment process.

As a fast track applicant, the decision to refuse to grant you a protection visa cannot be reviewed by the Migration and Refugee Division of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (formerly the Refugee Review Tribunal). Some decisions can be reviewed by the General Division of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). The letter we sent you about our decision to refuse your protection visa application will tell you if your decision is one that can be reviewed by the AAT.

If you are found not to engage Australia's protection obligations, you could get a limited form of review by the Immigration Assessment Authority (IAA). You will not be eligible for this review if you are assessed to be an excluded fast track review applicant.

The IAA will only consider information that was available to us when we made the decision to refuse your visa. This includes the information you gave to us in your protection visa application. In most cases, you will not be able to give new information to the IAA. This will only be allowed in exceptional circumstances.

You do not need to apply for IAA review. If you are eligible, we will automatically refer your case to the IAA. We will tell you if we do this.

You will not be eligible for a review if you:

  • have access to a safe third country that you can seek protection from, or are a national of two or more countries
  • have previously entered Australia and, while in Australia, made an application for a protection visa which was either refused or withdrawn
  • have been refused protection in another country, including with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
  • have made manifestly unfounded claims for protection (that is, your claims have no substance)
  • have given us a bogus document as part of your protection visa application and do not have a reasonable explanation for doing so.

If you fit one of these criteria, you will be an excluded fast track review applicant. The letter we sent you about our decision to refuse your protection visa application will tell you if you are eligible for IAA review.

What happens if the IAA does not agree with the refusal decision

If the IAA does not agree with our decision, your protection visa application is sent back to us for further processing. We will then assess you against other legal requirements for the grant of a protection visa, such as health tests and character and security requirements. This could take some time. You will only be granted a TPV or SHEV if these requirements are satisfied.

What happens if the IAA does agree with the refusal decision

If the IAA agrees with our assessment and you do not hold another visa, you do not have a lawful right to stay in Australia. You must make arrangements to leave Australia and return home or to a country where you have right of entry and long-term stay as soon as possible. If you do not voluntarily leave Australia, you risk being detained and removed.

If you arrived illegally by boat before 13 August 2012 or arrived illegally by air at any time

The decision to refuse your TPV or SHEV application is reviewable by the Migration and Refugee Division of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (formerly the Refugee Review Tribunal) or the General Division of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). The AAT is independent of us and has authority to review some decisions to refuse a protection visa.

The letter we sent you about our decision to refuse your visa includes information on which division of the AAT can review your case and how to make a review application. More information about how to apply for review can be found on these websites:

Content on these websites is kept up to date and includes the ability to apply online.

It is very important you lodge your application for review within the required statutory timeframes or it will not be valid and cannot be reviewed.

If you had an Immigration Advice and Application Assistance Scheme (IAAAS) agent to help you apply for a protection visa, they will not be able to help you apply for review, unless you engage them privately. If you need help, you can engage your own migration agent.

What happens if the AAT decides you do engage Australia's protection obligations

If the AAT does not agree with our decision, and decides that you do engage Australia’s protection obligations, your protection visa application will be sent back to us for further processing. We will then ask you to complete any other legal requirements for the grant of a protection visa, such as health tests and character and security requirements. This could take some time. You will only be granted a TPV or SHEV if these requirements are satisfied.  

What happens if the AAT decides you do not engage Australia's protection obligations

If you apply for review and the AAT agrees with our decision to refuse your visa, you are unsuccessful in your appeal. If this happens and you do not hold another visa, you do not have a lawful right to stay in Australia. You must make arrangements to leave Australia and return home or to a country where you have right of entry and stay as soon as possible.

If your bridging visa was granted on or after 19 November 2016, your bridging visa will cease 35 days after the AAT’s decision. If your bridging visa was granted before 19 November 2016, your visa will cease 28 days after you are taken to be notified of the AAT’s decision. People who stay in Australia without a visa can be taken to immigration detention and removed from Australia.

You can choose to return to your country

You can choose to return to your country of citizenship or a country where you have right of entry and long-term residence at any time. You might be eligible to receive assistance from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to return home voluntarily. For more information, phone 1300 116 986 or visit International Organization for Migration (IOM) website.