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There are approximately 130 types of visas available which are grouped under classes and subclasses and directly relate to the purpose of the applicant's stay in Australia.

Australia's humanitarian program consists of two streams, one offshore and one onshore. It is designed to enable resettlement of overseas people in Australia who have humanitarian needs and to allow Australia to protect those already in the country who are seeking refugee status under the UN Convention.

Offshore applicants may apply as 'refugees' which requires them to be outside there country of nationality or usual residence and they must have suffered persecution or hold a well founded fear of persecution for reasons set out in the UN Convention. A second option is available under the 'special humanitarian'program for those that are outside their country of nationality or usual residence and who have been subject to substantial discrimination which would amount to a gross violation of their human rights. Applicants under the special humanitarian program must be supported by someone resident in Australia or an Australian organisation.

Onshore applicants may include those who have arrived lawfully and those who arrived unlawfully by either sea or air. Lawful entrants may be granted a Permanent Protection Visa (PPV) after the first stage process of receiving a Temporary Protection Visa and for unlawful entrants a Temporary Protection Visa(TPV) will apply. This usually grants temporary residence for a period of three years.

All applications are assessed on individual merits and all applicants must satisfy health and character requirements.


Australia's migration programs and laws are complex and are frequently changing. As your representative a migration agent is up to date with the latest criteria, charges, processing times, necessary supporting documentation and review processes and is therefore better able to maximise your chances of a successful application.

An agent can provide you with advice in relation to a specific question,handle your application from beginning to end, provide the necessary support and representation in any decision review process or provide general guidance should you decide to prepare and lodge your application personally.

All agents are obligated to maintain and demonstrate an up-to-date and accurate knowledge of current immigration laws in order to retain their registration. They are also governed by a strict code of conduct which dictates,amongst other things, how they are to deal with clients and handle client funds.


This Information Outline is provided courtesy of Hall Payne Lawyers who are experienced in this area of law. They are located at Level 9, 344 Queen Street, Brisbane, QLD 4000 or call them on (07) 3221-2044 if you would like more information on this legal topic, or you wish to obtain formal advice regarding your situation.

Hall Payne Lawyers are an established Queensland firm practicing in the areas of employment law (unfair dismissal etc), accident compensation (WorkCover,motor vehicle accident, personal injuries), anti-discrimination &harassment, consumer law, family law, wills & estates, criminal law and conveyancing. Hall Payne Lawyers are a founding member of the Australia-wide PeopleLaw group.

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