Changes to what constitutes a ‘character concern’ - and the consequences for people who have had their visas cancelled under character grounds – quietly passed in February when the Australian parliament resumed for two weeks with attention focussed on energy policy and party vote-preference deals in the Western Australia.
As part of the Kaldor Centre’s series of Legislative Briefs, Khanh Hoang explains The Migration Amendment (Character Cancellation Consequential Provisions) Act 2017 (Cth). He outlines key issues including: procedural fairness concerns; the potential for double punishment; lack of disclosure of information to the visa holder; and ability to seek judicial review.
- Annual humanitarian intake
The number of refugees and other persons with special protection needs that Australia accepts for resettlement from overseas, combined with the number of persons already in Australia who arrived on a valid visa and are found to be refugees that Australia accepts each year. Maritime arrivals who are found to be refugees are not included in this intake.
- Asylum seeker
A person who is seeking protection as a refugee but has not yet had their claim determined by an official.
Also known as ‘responsibility-sharing’, this describes attempts by States to more equitably distribute the responsibility for protecting refugees and asylum seekers. In addition to measures aimed at sharing responsibility for physically hosting refugees, it may also include financial assistance to help developing States care for large numbers of refugees in their territory.
- Complementary protection
Under international human rights law, States are not permitted to send a person to any country or place where he or she faces a real risk of being arbitrarily deprived of their life, subjected to the death penalty, or subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Because this ‘complements’ the protection owed to refugees under the Refugee Convention, it is known as ‘complementary protection’.
- Durable solutions
The term used to describe a permanent solution for refugees to allow them to settle and rebuild their lives in dignity and peace. The three durable solutions pursued by States and UNHCR are voluntary repatriation, local integration and resettlement to a third country.
- Expert Panel
The Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers constituted by Prime Minister Julia Gillard in 2012 and led by former chief of Australia’s defence force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston AC AFC. The other members were Mr Paris Aristotle AM and Professor Michael L’Estrange AO.
- Internally displaced person (IDP)
A person who has been forced to flee his or her home but remains within the borders of his or her country of origin.
- Maritime arrival
An asylum seeker who arrived in Australia by boat without a valid visa. Maritime arrivals who arrived before 19 July 2013 either live in the Australian community on a bridging visa or in mandatory detention in mainland Australia. Those who arrived after that date are subject to mandatory detention and transfer to an offshore processing centre, and are denied the possibility of settlement in Australia.
The principle of non-refoulement prohibits States from sending a person to a place where they face a real risk of persecution, arbitrary deprivation of life, torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, or being subjected to the death penalty,. Australia has non-refoulement obligations under the Refugee Convention, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Convention against Torture, and also under customary international law.
- Operation Sovereign Borders (OSB)
A militarized Australian border security operation which commenced on 18 September 2013, involving a wide range of federal government agencies.
This refers to the protection owed under international law to refugees and others with international protection needs (such as beneficiaries of complementary protection). At a minimum, it requires respect for the principle of non-refoulement, and the safeguarding of basic human rights in accordance with international refugee and human rights law.
- Refugee Convention
The 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, the key legal instrument in international refugee law and protection. The Convention was supplemented by the 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees, which removed the temporal and geographical limitations of the earlier treaty.
- Refugee status determination (RSD)
A process by which a government authority or UNHCR assesses a person’s claim for refugee status against the criteria set out in article 1A(2) of the Refugee Convention. For the purposes of this report, it also encompasses the determination of complementary protection needs (since the two are considered as part of a single process in Australia).
A person who has a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of a particular social group, and who is unable or unwilling to return to his or her country of nationality or former residence on account of that fear.
This is one of the durable solutions for refugees. Each year, UNHCR identifies around 800,000 refugees in need of resettlement. These are refugees who have already left their countries of origin and are living in camps or urban areas abroad. Resettlement countries, such as Australia, then select a small number of those identified and relocate them on a permanent basis. There are around 80,000 resettlement places available worldwide.
- Stateless person
A person who is not considered as a national by any State under the operation of its law.