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.
Legal assistance for asylum seekers
This factsheet describes the legal assistance available to people seeking asylum in Australia. It explains the forms of legal assistance available, the implications of limited legal assistance entitlements, and how Australia compares with other countries in providing access to legal assistance. The factsheet also includes a list of materials for further reading. For information regarding refugee status determination in Australia, see the relevant factsheet.
The legal assistance available to people seeking asylum in Australia is comprised of Federal Government funded legal aid, State Government funded legal aid, and legal assistance and representation provided by non-government organisations or community legal centres. The services which are available depend on the individual’s level of vulnerability, time of arrival, geographical location, and stage of the protection application process. If these forms of assistance are unavailable to people seeking asylum, they will have to seek legal assistance at their own expense, or manoeuvre the legal system unassisted.
Updated by Caley Bawden
- 1. See also ‘Oppn to End Free Legal Aid for Boat People’, SBS, 13 September 2013; Jonathan Swan, ‘Coalition Denies Asylum Seekers Government Help to Navigate Migration Process’, The Age, 31 August 2013.
- 2. See also Explanatory Memorandum, Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment (Resolving the Asylum Legacy Caseload) Bill 2014.
- 3. In this factsheet, ‘legal representation’ refers to where a legal aid provider acts on behalf of an asylum seeker, whereas ‘legal advice’ refers to where a legal aid provider provides only legal advice to an asylum seeker, but does not act on his or her behalf. ‘Legal assistance’ more broadly, refers to both services. These definitions are based on those found in European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), Survey on Legal Aid for Asylum Seekers in Europe (October 2010), 9–11.
- 4. Jane McAdam and Fiona Chong, Refugees: Why Seeking Asylum is Legal and Australia’s Policies Are Not (NewSouth Publishing, 2014) 168.
- 5. Council Directive 2013/32/EU of 26 June 2013 on common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection (recast) OJ L 180/60, art 19.
- 6. Ibid Article 20.
- 7. Ibid Article 21(2).
- 8. Ibid Article 21(4).
- 9. Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (UK) Schedule 1, Part 1, para 30.
- 10. Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (UK) ss 11, 21; Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association, New Legal Aid Proposals (Information Sheet, 2 May 2013).
- 11. Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (UK) Schedule 1, Part 1, cl 19.
- 12. See John Baron, ‘Migrants Charity Goes Into Administration’, The Guardian, 19 June 2010; Owen Bowcott, ‘Tens of Thousands Lose Support as Immigration Advisory Service Closes’, The Guardian, 12 July 2011; Patrick Barkham, ‘The Asylum Seekers Facing a Kafkaesque Legal Nightmare’, The Guardian, 5 August 2011.
- 13. European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE),Survey on Legal Aid for Asylum Seekers in Europe (October 2010), 160 -2.