Are you a LGBTI from India? Do you fear returning to India?

Our Expert Immigration Lawyers have more than 12 years of experience helping LGBTI people from India to get a PROTECTION VISA in Australia

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INDIAN LGBTI – PROTECTION VISA

On September 6, 2018, India’s Supreme Court ruled that consensual homosexual acts would no longer constitute a crime. The historic move reversed Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which was a legacy from British colonial rule.

The Supreme Court in its judgment only held that consensual homosexual sex could not be a crime under the Indian Constitutional scheme. The judgment was therefore limited in its scope.

India does not have a comprehensive anti-discrimination code. While the Constitution prohibits discrimination, that only applies to the government. The private sector can discriminate with impunity in matters of employment, housing, health and education among other areas.

Gay and bisexual men, particularly in rural areas continue to suffer ill treatment and discrimination in many aspects of their lives, including education, work and public spaces.

In India, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are vulnerable to unofficial oppression as well as family and school bullying. Homosexuals are also forced into treatment to cure their sexual orientation.

A risk of persecution or serious harm for a lesbian woman in India, where it exists, arises from her family members.

Recent country information does not indicate that the situation for lesbians has changed significantly since the changes on Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. Women’s sexuality is rarely discussed in India where women are expected to marry and have children and “corrective” rape, often by family men, is prevalent in rural areas. In a society where gender-based violence is widespread and conducted in public, many lesbians may find it difficult to come out even to their families.

According to Vyjayanti Vasanta Mogli, a transwoman LGBT activist and public policy scholar at Tata Institute of Social Sciences, “village medics and babas often prescribe rape to cure lesbians of homosexuality.

 

LGBTI INDIANS “WELL-FOUNDED FEAR OF PERSECUTION”

If you have a well-founded fear of persecution due to your gender identity or sexual orientation in India, you may be eligible for a Protection visa (subclass 866).

The first requirement states that you must fear persecution for at least one of five reasons specified in the Act:

  • Race
  • Religion
  • Nationality
  • Membership of a particular social group (PSG)
  • Political Opinion

LGBTI persons in India form a particular social group (PSG) within the meaning of the Refugee Convention because they share an innate characteristic or a common background that cannot be changed, or share a characteristic or belief that is so fundamental to their identity or conscience that they should not be forced to renounce it, and have a distinct identity which is perceived as being different by the surrounding society.

Although LGBTI persons in India form a PSG, establishing such membership may not not sufficient to be recognised as a refugee.

Our Immigration Lawyers can help you with your Onshore Protection Visa. Most of our LGBTI protection visa clients are international students and tourists who fear to return to their home country and would like to stay in Australia permanently. We have a proven success record in assisting nationals of India.

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FEAR OF PERSECUTION

Well-founded fear of persecution The Act states that a person has a well-founded fear of persecution if:

  • they fear persecution for at least one of five reasons specified in the Act (race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, political opinion)
  • there is a real chance that, if the person returns to their home country, they would be persecuted for one or more of those reasons
    the real chance of persecution relates to all areas of their home country
  • at least one of the five reasons must be the essential and significant reason for the persecution
  • the persecution involves both ‘serious harm’ to the person and ‘systematic and discriminatory conduct’.

COMPLEMENTARY PROTECTION REQUIREMENTS

The complimentary protection provisions enable visa applicants to claim protection on broader grounds than those contained in the Refugee Convention, reflecting Australia’s obligations under international human rights law.

International human rights law precludes countries from sending people back to places where they face a real risk of being arbitrarily deprived of their life, or a real risk of being tortured or exposed to other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

MIGRATION ACT 1958 (CTH)

Section 36(2A) of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) largely gives effect to those obligations in domestic law. People at risk of this kind of harm are eligible for a protection visa. In this way, human rights law provides a ‘complement’ to protection under the Refugee Convention, hence the name ‘complementary protection’.

Specifically, section 36(2A) provides that Australia is not permitted to remove people to countries where they face a real risk of one or more of the following:

  • arbitrary deprivation of life
  • the death penalty
  • torture
  • cruel or inhuman treatment or punishment
  • degrading treatment or punishment.

Complementary protection introduced greater efficiency, transparency and accountability into Australia’s protection regime. Prior to March 2012, Australia was unable to guarantee that people who did not meet the refugee definition in the Refugee Convention, but who nonetheless faced serious human rights abuses if returned to their country of origin or habitual residence, would be granted protection.

Particular social group

There are two types of particular social groups described in the Act. One provides criteria to be met if a person claims to have a well-founded fear of persecution because they are a member of a particular social group that consists of their family. The other type provides that a person will be a member of a particular social group if:

  • each member of the group shares a characteristic
  • the person shares, or is perceived as sharing, the characteristic
  • any of the following apply:
    • the characteristic is innate or immutable (cannot be changed)
    • the characteristic is so fundamental to a person’s identity or conscience, they should not be forced to renounce it (go against it); or
    • the characteristic distinguishes the group from the rest of society
  • the characteristic is not a fear of persecution.
Serious harm

To have a well-founded fear of persecution, the persecution feared must involve serious harm to the person. Serious harm includes, but is not limited to:

  • a threat to the person’s life or liberty
  • significant physical harassment of the person
  • significant physical ill treatment of the person
  • significant economic hardship that threatens the person’s capacity to subsist (ability to survive)
  • denial of access to basic services, where the denial threatens the person’s capacity to subsist (ability to survive)
  • denial of capacity to earn a livelihood of any kind, where the denial threatens the person’s capacity to subsist (ability to survive).
Systematic and discriminatory conduct

To have a well-founded fear of persecution, the persecution feared must also involve systematic and discriminatory conduct.

  • Systematic means the harm is not random or generalised, but is targeted against the person.
  • Discriminatory means the conduct of the persecutor affects the person or members of a group in a way that singles that person or a group out from the rest of the community.

This means that if the serious harm feared by the person is not directed at them or a group to which they belong, for one of the five reasons above, the person does not have a well-founded fear of persecution and will not be a refugee.

Real chance of persecution

For the fear of persecution to be well founded, there must be a ‘real chance’ that the persecution would happen in the reasonably foreseeable future if the person was to return to their home country. Real chance means that the fear of persecution is not remote or far-fetched.

If there is a place in their home country where the person can live without a well-founded fear of persecution, they will not be a refugee. However, they must be able to safely and legally access that place.

Seeking protection from authorities in their home country

If the government or other parties that control all or a large part of the person’s home country is willing and able to offer effective protection to the person, they might not meet the definition of refugee. However, the person must be able to access the protection and the protection must be of a durable nature (provided on an ongoing basis). If the protection is able to be provided by the government, the protection must also include an appropriate criminal law, a reasonably effective police force and an impartial judicial system. If this protection is able to be provided, the person does not have a well-founded fear of persecution and will not be a refugee.

A right to enter and reside in another country

If a person has a right to enter and reside in another country in which they do not fear persecution or significant harm, they must take all possible steps to exercise that right. If they do not, they might not be a refugee.

Modifying behaviours

According to the Act, a person does not have a well-founded fear of persecution if they can take reasonable steps to modify their behaviour so as to avoid a real chance of persecution their home country. However, this would not be the case if such a change would:

  • conflict with a characteristic that is fundamental to the person’s identity or conscience
  • require the person to conceal or hide a characteristic that is innate or immutable (one that they could not change), or
  • require the person to:
    • change their religious beliefs, including by renouncing a religious conversion, or conceal their true religious beliefs, or cease to be
    • involved in the practice of their faith
    • conceal their true race, ethnicity, nationality or country of origin
    • change their political beliefs or conceal their true political beliefs
    • conceal a physical, psychological or intellectual disability
    • enter into or remain in a marriage to which that person is opposed, or accept the forced marriage of a child
    • alter their sexual orientation or gender identity or conceal their true sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status.

Helping People Just Like You

What matters to us most is what our clients have to say about their experience once everything has been resolved. Below are some of the messages we have received from people we’ve represented.

Daniel White
Daniel W.
In my view these guys are legends, and they are the best migration law firm in Australia. I consulted 5 other migration firms and none of them could match the expertise of Gold Migration Lawyers. If you have a complex application, go to Gold Migration!read more
Salim Muhammed
Salim M.
Good people and they know the rules back to front. They gave me friendly service and good result.
Cherry Lau
Cherry L.
They are the BEST immigration lawyers in Australia. Highly recommended if you can afford them 🙂
Angela Parker
Angela P.
We hired Gold Migration Lawyers to assist us with our partner visa application. At the time the department’s processing time was over 24 months. GML lodged our application and it got approved in 4 months. We are extremely happy with the outcome as I know people who have been waiting for years for their partner visa. I highly recommend Gold Migration Lawyers. The team is amazing!read more
KA CHUN UY
KA CHUN U.
I am very grateful to the lawyer Peter Peng. Although my case is very troublesome, he was very patient to help me solve it step by step. At that time, I only had 20 days to provide supplementary information from the Immigration. I found this law firm, the owner, Ramtin.  He is very confidence and professional also made me full of confidence in him. They added different viewpoints and legal opinions in the explanation letter, which successfully made the immigration officer accept my explanation.  The next day after submitting the information, the Immigration officer immediately accepted my explanation and asked me to have a medical examination.It took two months to successfully get the Partner(820) VISA, I am very grateful to them  I highly recommend this law firm , they are really pro and they can help you slove any problem.read more
Bibi Mon
Bibi M.
I went to these lawyers trusting them they will be able to organise my permanent residency. I was a little worried with how much it costs but in the end I have to say they went above and beyond my expectations, they were worth every cent. I would like to mention and thank my lawyer Peter who looked after my case, very professional through the whole process. Gold immigration lawyers are the “gold” standard.read more
Ignacio Falcon
Ignacio F.
Amazing team of lawyers! Peter was extremely helpful and offered detailed guidance throughout the whole process. I highly recommend their services
Mauricio G Guerra
Mauricio G G.
Exceeded my expectations, good communication, very professional!
Leo Donnelly
Leo D.
They made the process very smooth, always there to answer my calls and give professional help even to the most minor detail.I felt like I was treated like family.Visa was processed very quickly and I would recommend them to anyone who would like assistance with the Visa application.read more

frequently asked questions

Can I lodge a Protection (866) Visa whilst in Australia?

If you are eligible, yes you can. The Protection (866) Visa can only be lodged whilst you are in Australia.

What are my options if I am not in Australia yet?

There are 4 different offshore visas that you may be eligible to apply for. They are the Refugee (200) Visa, the In-Country Special Humanutarian (201) Visa, the Emergency Rescue (203) Visa and the Woman At Risk (204) Visa.

How would I be eligible for a Protection (866) Visa?

You must be in Australia, and arrived here legally, on a valid visa, and be immigration cleared on arrival. You must also be a genuine refugee, meet the DHA’s identity requirements, not have held specific visas and more.

Do I need to have an interview with the Department of Home Affairs?

Yes, the DHA will interview you to discuss the claims on your application.

Can I travel back to my home country after a Protection Visa is granted?

A protection visa holder with Condition 8559 must apply to the DHA for permission to travel to their home country before they depart.

I am scared to go back to my home country because I will be persecuted. What are the different reasons that the DHA accepts this?

To have a well-founded fear of persecution, a person must fear serious harm because of their race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group and/or political opinion.

Our Team