Pathways and placement


Anyone who attempts to travel to Australia by boat without a visa will be turned back or transferred to a regional processing country.

The following information is not for people whose protection claims are being assessed in regional processing countries.

This information is for people who have already arrived in Australia by boat without a visa and whose protection claims will be assessed in Australia.

Everyone who is not an Australian citizen must have a valid visa to stay in Australia.

Australia has immigration processes to decide who can get a visa, including people who want to apply for a protection visa.

All immigration processes have two possible results:

  • you are granted a visa, which means you can stay
  • you are not granted a visa, which means you must leave.

Be prepared for either result from your immigration process.

If you are granted a protection visa, the Australian Government will only allow you to stay in Australia temporarily.

If you are not granted a protection visa, you must leave Australia.

You can choose to return home at any time.

People who want to return home can talk to the International Organization for Migration, or IOM.

Your conversation with IOM is confidential, independent of all government processes and will have no effect on your claims for protection.

To contact IOM in Australia:

If you choose to wait for a decision about whether you will be granted a protection visa, you might:

  • Stay in an immigration detention facility, or
  • Be placed in community detention, or
  • Be granted a bridging visa to live in the community.

The immigration minister decides where you stay during your immigration process.

Where you stay during your immigration process will not affect the result.

Some people will stay in an immigration detention facility until their immigration process is finished.

If you are allowed to live in the community during your immigration process, you must look after yourself.

This includes organising your own meals, transport and medical treatment if required.

You must also report to the immigration department when asked.

Community detention allows people to live outside an immigration detention facility in a house, unit or apartment.

People placed in community detention are allowed to move about freely in the community; however they do not have the same rights or entitlements as a person who holds a valid visa. For example, they cannot choose where they live. They must live at the address specified by the immigration minister.

A bridging visa allows people to live in the community during their immigration process. It is not a permanent visa or a protection visa. Bridging visa conditions are outlined in the visa grant letter.

People granted a bridging visa can choose where they live and must find and pay for their own accommodation.

If you do not comply with your community detention or bridging visa conditions, you could be returned to an immigration detention facility.

For more information, talk to an immigration officer or your service provider.

Information is also available online at: Illegal maritime arrivals

Copyright and usage

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Pathways and placement by Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.​​​​​​​