After an application is lodged, the processing office sends the applicant and, if the application was accompanied by a Refugee and Special Humanitarian Proposal (form 681), the proposer an acknowledgement of receipt. They then begin processing the application. It is important to note that the processing of applications has several stages and can take many months. For applications with a proposer in Australia, immigration staff might contact proposers from time to time to clarify details in the proposal and to assess the level of help the proposer is able to give to the applicant after arrival in Australia.
Not all applications are assessed as eligible for further processing and some are refused at initial assessment. Applications that are assessed as eligible for further processing are referred for interview and further assessment.
All refugee and humanitarian applicants referred for further processing are required to be interviewed by an Australian immigration officer.
If it is not possible for the applicant to travel to an immigration office, other arrangements may be made on a case-by-case basis. Immigration officers often travel to refugee camps to conduct interviews.
At the interview, the applicant will be asked about their circumstances, including the reasons why they are seeking a humanitarian visa, their family composition and the information they have provided in the application. There may also be other questions relating to their application.
Applicants and their dependent family members must meet health requirements in order to be granted a visa for Australia. Applicants will be notified when they will need to have medical and x–ray examinations. They may also undergo medical treatment.
A waiver of the need to meet the health requirement is available if compassionate and compelling circumstances exist.
See: Health Waivers
The costs of all medical examinations are covered by the Australian Government.
See: Health Requirements
Applicants and their dependent family members must meet character requirements in order to be granted a visa for Australia. The assessment process may require the Australian Government to conduct character checks on applicants. Details of the application are not passed to the applicant’s home country.
See: Character and Penal Clearance Requirements
It is difficult to provide useful estimates of average processing times, as these vary according to a number of factors including the documentation the applicant holds, their medical condition, where they are located and how quickly interviews can be arranged. Processing delays can occur where checks or tests to confirm identity or claimed relationships between family members are needed. In addition, local conditions such as poor phone lines and mail services or the general security situation may affect how quickly interviews can be arranged.
The applicant and their proposer (if they have one) will be contacted by the office processing the application once it is lodged and later at key stages of processing or when a decision is made on the application.
If circumstances change
If the applicant’s circumstances change in any way after the application is lodged they must inform the office where the application was lodged.
Example: the applicant or a family member becomes engaged, married or pregnant.
If a child is born to an applicant after an application is lodged, the child can be included in the application if details are provided before a final decision is made on the application.
Information on travelling to Australia
For information that may be useful on travelling to Australia under the Humanitarian Program.
Information on Travelling to Australia