07 January 2011

Government announces faster Australia immigration processes for refugees

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The Australian Immigration Minister, Chris Bowen, has announced changes to the refugee determination process for irregular maritime arrivals in response to the High Court decision that was handed down on 11 November 2010.

Australia immigration

Australia Immigration are changing the processing procedures for refugees.

The primary assessment process, now to be known as a Protection Obligations Determination, will be streamlined by Australia Immigration with effect from 1 March.

“Assessment procedures for refugee claims from irregular maritime arrivals will be changed to allow an earlier decision on whether someone needs Australia’s protection,” Mr Bowen said.

“The current approach of a full initial assessment of claims, a separate independent review of negative assessments, followed now due to the High Court decision by the possibility of judicial review, goes further than assessment procedures in many other countries.”

Under the new streamlined system, irregular maritime arrivals whom a departmental officer concludes clearly meets the criteria for protection under the Refugees Convention will be considered for the grant of a protection Australia visa.

Where the departmental officer is not able to promptly reach that conclusion, the case will be fast-tracked directly to an independent assessor for final determination, to be known as an Independent Protection Assessment.

The new Protection Obligations Determination process will apply to asylum seekers who arrive by boat at an excised offshore place from 1 March, as well as those who arrived previously and who have not had a Refugee Status Assessment interview by that date. 


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