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Pakistan visa Australia

Managing Associate (Lawyer)
May 7, 2024
10
minute read

The Australian Protection visa for Pakistani nationals

In Pakistan, offshore individuals seeking humanitarian visas in Australia have two options: first, the Offshore Humanitarian stream (Form 842), which requires demonstrating substantial discrimination constituting a severe violation of human rights. Alternatively, they can apply for a Global Special Humanitarian visa (subclass 202), requiring sponsorship from an Australian entity. 

If the applicant is onshore in Australia and holds a current visa, they may apply for a Protection visa (subclass 866). This offers permanent residency to refugees who fear persecution in their home country based on factors like race, religion, nationality, social group membership, or political opinion, provided they arrived on a valid visa and meet all other visa requirements.

Pakistani nationals are able to seek protection in Australia if they are fleeing due to a well founded fear of persecution. This refers to individuals who fear persecution based on factors like race, religion, nationality, social group membership, or political beliefs, and as a result, have left their home country or former place of residence. 

In the context of Pakistan, reasons for seeking protection include fear of persecution based on religious beliefs (especially for Christians, Christian converts, Ahmadis, and high-profile Shi’a persons), sexual orientation or gender identity (LGBTI persons), gender-based violence (women), political beliefs (actual or perceived political opinion), ethnic backgrounds (Hazaras & Turis), and blasphemy-related violence.

The Pakistani community in Australia has roots dating back to the 1860s, initially with cameleers employed for exploration expeditions. While small initially, migration from Pakistan surged in recent decades, with many professionals from urban areas settling in Australia. This community has experienced rapid growth, more than doubling in size between 2011 and 2016, primarily concentrated in New South Wales and Victoria.

The protection visa process for Pakistan

Eligibility criteria for Pakistan protection visas:

For offshore Pakistani nationals seeking humanitarian visas, the primary option is the Offshore Humanitarian stream (Form 842), where applicants must prove substantial discrimination in Pakistan, constituting a severe violation of their human rights, particularly based on ethnicity, religion, political beliefs, or similar grounds.

Another avenue is the Global Special Humanitarian visa (subclass 202), requiring sponsorship from an Australian entity and demonstrating a genuine need for protection from persecution or discrimination while residing outside Pakistan and Australia. Sponsors can be Australian citizens, permanent residents, or organizations, with immediate family members also eligible if meeting split family visa application criteria. The sponsor plays a crucial role in assisting with resettlement, potentially covering travel expenses.

Lastly, Pakistani nationals already in Australia on a valid visa may apply for a subclass 866 Protection visa if they fear persecution or significant harm in their home country. If granted, this visa allows them to stay permanently in Australia, provided they meet Australia's protection obligations and all other visa conditions.

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If you are interested in getting more information about a Protection visa, get in touch with Australian Migration Lawyers for a consultation.
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Pakistan visa supporting documentation

Whist the documents required will vary for each specific visa, the following list outlines the type of documents that applicants may be required to provide: 

Identity Documents:

  • Passport with personal details.
  • National identity card.
  • Proof of name change.

Humanitarian Circumstances:

  • Registration with refugee organizations.
  • Statement explaining reasons for leaving home country.

Visas or Residence Permits:

  • Certified copies of current visas or permits.

Relationship Documents:

  • Certified copies of marriage certificates or registrations.

Photographs:

  • Passport-sized photographs per applicant.

Application Forms:

  • Refugee and humanitarian proposal forms.

Character Documents:

  • Military service records (if applicable).

Notification of Assistance:

  • Immigration assistance forms.
  • Dependents' Documents:
  • Identity documents.
  • Relationship proof.
  • Visas or permits.
  • Marriage certificates or registrations.
  • Character documents (if applicable).

Translation:

  • Translation of non-English documents into English.
  • Document Preparation for Online Applications:
  • Color scans or photos of documents.
  • Clarity and labeling.
  • Consolidation of multi-page documents.
  • Sponsorship and travel assistance documentation.

Lodging a Pakistani protection visa in Australia

Pakistani applicants for a Humanitarian visa can apply either online or via postal submission. Applying online is recommended for its convenience and efficiency. For online applications, complete the necessary forms such as Form 842 for the Offshore Humanitarian visa and Form 681 for the refugee and special humanitarian proposal, and submit them along with required documents through the designated web portal. Alternatively, for paper applications, mail the completed forms and supporting documents to the Special Humanitarian Processing Centre at the Department of Home Affairs in Sydney, NSW. If applying offshore using Form 842, applications can be sent to the specified addresses.

Compliance and conditions for a Pakistan visa

If granted a Global Special Humanitarian visa (subclass 202); Humanitarian visa (Form 842); or a Protection visa (subclass 866), certain conditions and obligations will apply:

Stay and Rights: Visa holders can remain in Australia indefinitely, work and study, access public healthcare through Medicare, propose family members for permanent residence, travel to and from Australia for five years, and become eligible for Australian citizenship. They can also attend free English language classes.

Duration of Stay: Permanent residency begins upon arrival in Australia on the visa.

Family Inclusion: Eligible family members include partners, dependent children, partner’s dependent children, and other dependent relatives, who must meet health and character requirements. Declaration of all family members is required, even if not applying together.

Cost: There is no visa application charge unless proposed under the Community Support Program. However, if applying for a Protection visa (subclass 866) then there is an application fee of $45 AUD. 

Obligations: Holders must enter Australia before the specified initial arrival date, obey all Australian laws, and arrange their own travel to Australia.

Pakistani-Australian visa processing time

Visa processing times for Pakistani applicants can vary significantly due to various factors. The Department strives to process all applications promptly, but delays may occur due to the need to verify family ties, assess health and character, and confirm identities. Additionally, limitations on visa numbers and waiting lists for specific visa categories may contribute to delays. While efforts are made to expedite humanitarian visa reviews, processing times depend on individual circumstances, location, and the availability of necessary documents and staff.

Support from Australian Migration Lawyers

Engaging an Australian Migration Lawyer offers significant benefits when submitting a protection claim. These experts have in-depth knowledge of Australia's visa laws and can guide applicants through the process efficiently. Their support ensures the completeness of required documentation and compliance with eligibility criteria, while also addressing any legal challenges that may arise, thereby simplifying the process. Leveraging their expertise enhances the chances of a favorable outcome and reduces the stress associated with the application process.

Supporting evidence for your application 

To strengthen your asylum application in Australia as a Pakistani, it's crucial to provide a comprehensive statement outlining the specific threats you face if you were to return to your homeland. If other family members are also in danger, they should submit separate statements. Your statement should chronologically detail the circumstances leading to your departure, including perpetrators of persecution, efforts made to seek assistance, and the manner in which you left Pakistan. It's essential to provide concrete examples rather than generalizations about the country's dangers. Honesty is paramount, and embellishment should be avoided, as the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) will verify the information provided. Additionally, include any supporting documents such as letters, photographs, or medical reports, along with original identity and nationality documents. Ensure that all documents are authentic and translated into English if required.

The protection visa interview for Pakistani nationals

When attending your protection visa interview at the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) as a Pakistani applicant, meticulous preparation and honesty are key. Plan your logistics, review your statement thoroughly, and disclose any new information beforehand. During the interview, anticipate inquiries about your identity, truthfulness, and potential risks in Pakistan. An interpreter will be available to assist, and consistency with your statement is vital. Be prepared to address any discrepancies, as the officer may cross-reference information from various sources. Promptly share any additional pertinent details and consider seeking guidance from an Australian Migration Lawyer, especially concerning post-interview communication from Immigration. Common interview topics include acquiring personal documents, providing personal background information, detailing past and potential threats in Pakistan, and discussing any security or political affiliations.

Navigating the administrative processes

For Pakistani humanitarian applicants, enlisting the expertise of a seasoned Australian Migration Lawyer is paramount. They offer personalized advice on visa prerequisites, aid in assembling precise documentation, and advocate on behalf of applicants during interviews. Timely responsiveness to requests and staying updated on immigration regulations are imperative. With the backing of an Australian Migration Lawyer, Pakistani humanitarian applicants can navigate the bureaucratic procedure with assurance and effectiveness, thus enhancing their prospects of a favorable outcome.

Specific advice for your case

Although the internet provides abundant resources, there are situations where personalized advice is indispensable. Our team of Australian Migration Lawyers offers complimentary initial consultations to assess your visa options and provide tailored strategic guidance. Given the complexity of individual cases, it's difficult for any lawyer to provide detailed advice without conducting a thorough interview.

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Legal support for appeals and reviews

Our team of Australian Migration Lawyers is dedicated to providing ongoing support to Pakistani applicants, assisting them throughout the entire application process, including any required appeals or reviews. Upon receiving a decision on your application, we will promptly communicate the outcome to you. If your application is successful, we'll share in your joy. However, if the decision is unfavorable, our lawyers will offer guidance and discuss potential appeal options, representing you at Australia's administrative review tribunal or the Federal Court as necessary.

Pakistan migration policy changes

A policy area of particular concern is the widespread abuses against Afghans living in Pakistan, with authorities employing coercive measures to compel their return to Afghanistan. This includes mass detentions, property seizures, and destruction of identity documents, resulting in the forced expulsion of thousands of Afghan refugees and asylum seekers. Pakistani officials have blamed Afghans for an increase in militant attacks and have imposed exit fees on those awaiting resettlement in other countries.

Support from Australian Migration Lawyers

Handling administrative procedures for Pakistani humanitarian applicants can pose challenges. Consulting seasoned Australian Migration Lawyers significantly eases the process, as they provide personalized advice and ensure adherence to immigration regulations. Thorough comprehension of visa prerequisites, precise compilation of required documentation, and timely attendance at interviews are crucial. Responding promptly to any requests for additional information from immigration authorities is essential. Remaining informed about policy revisions and seeking assistance from reputable organizations are also pivotal. By adhering to these guidelines and seeking legal support, applicants can maneuver through the administrative process with assurance and effectiveness.

Australian Migration Lawyers team

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