04 April 2011

Gay couple in legal action over Australian visa refusal

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A same-sex couple from Bangladesh who had their protection visa application refused by the Australian immigration department, have launched a legal challenge through the High Court to appeal the decision, describing it as a "miscarriage of justice".

Australian immigration

A same-sex couple from Bangladesh have launched a legal challenge over the refusal of their visa application.

The men’s application was made based on a claim that they were at risk of torture and death threats in Bangladesh due to their homosexuality. They claim the reason for refusal was based partly on an anonymous faxed letter claiming they were not a legitimate couple. The men say this is likely to have been written by their former Australian immigration migration agent with whom they were in dispute with over fees.

Escalation to the High Court follows an appeal at a tribunal in which the Immigration Minister’s original decision to refuse protection was upheld, based partly on the letter, which claimed one of the men had a girlfriend and that his claim to be gay was “totally bogus”.

Speaking in 2009, tribunal member Giles Short said he “would not ordinarily place much weight on a message from an anonymous informant, but I consider it significant that the person … was clearly close enough to the applicant to know his passport number and the nature of the claims he had made in support of his application for a protection visa''.

The High Court’s decision is believed to be likely to influence standards for evidence and procedure in future Refugee Review Tribunal hearings.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people lodge their Australian visa application.

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