Fast Track Assessment process

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Your protection visa application will be assessed under the Fast Track Assessment process if you:

  • arrived on or after 13 August 2012 and before 1 January 2014
  • have never been taken to a Regional Processing Centre, and
  • lodge a temporary protection visa application on or after 18 April 2015.

The Minister could also determine that other groups of people will be processed under the Fast Track Assessment process. We will tell you if you are a fast track applicant.

The Fast Track Assessment process allows protection claims to be assessed efficiently by introducing shorter timeframes for applicants to respond to requests for further information or to respond to adverse information. This means we can make sure our protection visa application process for these asylum seekers is more efficient and effective.

The Fast Track Assessment process also uses a new review body called the Immigration Assessment Authority (IAA) that is a separate office within the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).

Under the Fast Track Assessment process, it is extremely important to give us your protection claims early and in full. If you do not give us all of your protection claims and we refuse your application, you may not have another chance to provide these claims.

If we have questions or concerns about the protection claims you have made or the information you have given, we will give you an opportunity to respond to our questions or concerns. This will be either during your interview or in writing. However, you will be given limited time to give us any new information before we make a decision on your application. It is important that you respond and provide any new information within the timeframes we give you.

What the Fast Track Assessment process involves

You can apply for a Temporary Protection visa (TPV) or a Safe Haven Enterprise visa (SHEV).

You are now expected to lodge an application for a TPV or a SHEV to present your claims for protection and resolve your status in Australia. If you have not received your invitation to apply letter, you are not prevented from lodging an application.

Failure to lodge a visa application and maintain contact with us will be taken as an indication that you no longer intend to seek protection in Australia. If you are unable to lodge an application immediately, you must contact us and provide the reasons why, and provide your client and boat identification numbers, name and date of birth.

After you have lodged an application you will be asked to attend an interview with an immigration officer. That officer will ask you for more information about yourself and your claims. When answering these questions, you must speak truthfully and provide all the information you have about your protection claims.

If you are found to engage Australia's protection obligations and meet all other criteria, such as health, security and character requirements, you will be granted a temporary visa to stay in Australia.

To help you apply for protection, we have developed the Protection Application Information and Guides (PAIG). These documents include more information on how to apply for a visa, your visa options and the assessment process.

Review rights

Under the Fast Track Assessment process, you will not have access to a full administrative review by the Migration and Refugee Division of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (formerly the Refugee Review Tribunal). If you are found not to engage Australia's protection obligations, you could get a limited form of review by the IAA, a separate office within the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. You will not be eligible for this review if you are assessed to be an excluded fast track review applicant.

The IAA will only consider information that was available to us when we made the decision to refuse your visa. This includes the information you gave to us in your protection visa application. In most cases, you will not be able to give new information to the IAA. This will only be allowed in exceptional circumstances.

You do not need to apply for IAA review. If you are eligible, we will automatically refer your case to the IAA. We will tell you if we do this.

Excluded fast track review applicants

You will be an excluded fast track review applicant if you:

  • have access to a safe third country that you can seek protection from, or are a national of two or more countries
  • have previously entered Australia and, while in Australia, made an application for a protection visa which was either refused or withdrawn
  • have been refused protection in another country, including with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
  • have made manifestly unfounded claims for protection (that is, your claims have no substance)
  • have given us a bogus document as part of your protection visa application and do not have a reasonable explanation for doing so.

We will tell you if we find that you fit one of these criteria. We will give you an opportunity to comment and give us more information before we reach a decision.

If we decide that you are an excluded fast track review applicant, you cannot seek merits review of a decision to refuse your visa. You will be expected to make arrangements to leave Australia.

If you are found not to engage Australia's protection obligations, you will be expected to return home or to another country where you have right of entry and long-term stay.

Application assistance

To help you apply for protection, we have developed the Protection Application Information and Guides (PAIG). You can seek the assistance of a registered migration agent at any time. You will have to pay for this yourself.

People who have entered Australia illegally and have been determined to be extremely vulnerable, such as unaccompanied minors, could have access to application assistance through the Primary Application Information Services (PAIS). We will tell you if you can get this service.

If you want migration advice or assistance, make sure you use a registered migration agent. People providing immigration assistance must sign a form 956 and lodge it with us.

Friends and community supporters can assist you to lodge an application by helping you to translate the form or your responses.

Voluntary returns

You can choose to return home or to your country of lawful permanent residence at any time. If you are thinking about returning home, you might be able to get assistance from the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The type of assistance is based on your individual circumstances.

Thinking of home? See more information on voluntary returns and the International Organisation for Migration.'
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What do I have to do to lodge a valid protection visa application?

You need to choose whether to apply for a TPV or a SHEV and fill out the application form.

Information to help you choose is available in the PAIG: Visa options for illegal arrivals seeking protection.

Whichever visa application form you lodge must be signed and must include all the information about you and the other people in your family, including your claims for protection and information about your identity. You should provide certified copies of documents, including identity documents, with your visa application and bring the originals of those documents to the interview. More information about the application forms is available in the PAIG: The protection visa application forms.

You must also pay the visa application charge of $35 at the time your lodge your visa application.

More information on how to lodge your visa application form is available in the PAIG: Lodging your protection visa application.

Failure to maintain contact with us and lodge a visa application will be taken as an indication that an IMA no longer intends to seek protection in Australia. This might affect their support services, including income support and could also impact their Bridging visa. IMAs who do not lodge a TPV or SHEV application are expected to leave Australia.