Are you LGBTI? Do you fear returning to your country?

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

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LGBT VISA – COUNTRIES WHERE HOMOSEXUALITY IS CRIMINALISED (AND A FEW OTHERS WHERE PEOPLE’S LIVES ARE AT RISK)

Homosexual relationships are criminalised in 69 countries and people are detained and attacked on morality grounds in a few other countries, such as Indonesia, Japan, Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Nepal and China.

LGBT Visa – Below is a list of 69 countries where homosexual relationships are criminalised:

Afghanistan, Algeria, Antigua & Barbuda, Bangladesh, Barbados, Bhutan, Brunei, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Comoros, Cook Islands, Dominica, Egypt, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guinea, Guyana, Iran, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Kuwait, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Nigeria, Occupied Palestinian Territory (Gaza Strip), Oman, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Qatar, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and The Grenadines, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Togo, Tonga, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

In Iran, Sudan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen, homosexuality is still punishable by death, under sharia law. The same applies in parts of Somalia and northern Nigeria.

In two other countries – Syria and Iraq – the death penalty is carried out by non-state actors, including Islamic State.

In Indonesia, India, Cambodia, Japan, Hong Kong, Nepal and China, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are vulnerable to unofficial oppression and police harassment. They are also forced into treatment to cure their sexual orientation.

LGBTI VISA “WELL-FOUNDED FEAR OF PERSECUTION”

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

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.

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LGBT PROTECTION VISA – 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’.

LGBTI – COMPLEMENTARY PROTECTION REQUIREMENTS

Complementary protection is protection for those who are not refugees according to the Act, but who can’t return to their home country because they will suffer certain types of harm which engage Australia’s other protection obligations.

These obligations come from the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and have been incorporated into the Act.

A person can be granted a protection visa on the basis of complementary protection if there are substantial grounds for believing that there is a real risk the person will suffer ‘significant harm’ if they were removed from Australia to their home country.

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.

Kevin Clunie
Kevin C.
This firm are so professional and efficient! They kept me well informed through the whole process and were very helpful with guiding me through the application process 10/10 Gold Migration Lawyers!
Jean Linis-Dinco
Jean L.
If I could give more than 5 stars, I would. We got our visa approved in 4 months. Kiri is such an amazing person. Everyone is so professional and friendly.
Jona Watts
Jona W.
Highly recommend Gold migration lawyers. The process was effortless and my visa has just been granted.
widia mardiana
widia M.
From the first Zoom meeting, the team at Gold Migration Lawyers are very helpful. Even though all the process were done online and we never met in person, but they are professionals in their job and have earned my 100% trust, especially Saemeh Ghasemi who followed up my prospective marriage visa till it was approved. It took me 6 months to get my visa approved, which is fantastic. I highly recommend them. Keep up the good work, guysread more
Mark Isherwood
Mark I.
My partner and I used Gold Migration to get a partner visa. They really helped us get everything we needed together for the application and answered our many questions. We got our application processed in only four months.
Muhammad Ali
Muhammad A.
Gold migration lawyers are only the best services provider in Melbourne. All members are equally and exclusively treat clients unforgettably with warm-hearted. Atmosphere for clients always warmth welcoming, friendly,cooperative, kind, well manner deal. All members are skilful, passionate their profession moreover truely and genuinely eager for high ratio success. Team work is highly appreciated Especially protection visa lawyers Ramtin Diznab, Sarah McNeil. My protection visa has been granted successfully due to the remarkable Gold migration Lawyers.They are hard workers and having tight grip on relevant laws... I totally recommend Gold migration Lawyers with my full faith and trust , one must should come.read more
Rexhep Behluli
Rexhep B.
Andreas has done an amazing job on my visa application, in the verge of loosing hope, Andreas has come through, Andreas is the man for the complex visa applications can’t thank you enough for your efforts
Zuhayr Ali
Zuhayr A.
To the team at gold immigration lawyers. Not only are they true professionals, they are nothing but a team of champions. I cannot speak highly enough to Sarah McNeil and Saemeh Ghasemi for turning dreams into reality.Sarah and the team transferred a situation of turmoil and despair into a lifetime change in short amount of time.Highly recommend the team at gold immigration.read more
Sonia Ramjathan
Sonia R.
From the first day me and my partner went to Gold migration,they were very welcoming and very professional. They process my partner visa last year in August and i got both my 820 and 801 visa granted together in May this year,we are very grateful that we went to see them for doing our application. Specially thank you to Sarah McNeil who look after our visa she was excellent from the start to finish.I would recommend gold migration to my friends and family.everything was done perfectly without any doubt and very helpful as well.read more

LGBT Visa – frequently asked questions

What is Gender identity?

Gender identity is each person’s internal experience of gender that may or may not correspond with their sex at birth. It includes a person’s sense of their body, as well as other expressions of gender, including dress, speech, mannerisms and social roles. Some people may seek to change their sex to more fully match their gender identity.

What is Gender transition?

Gender transition is the process by which a person strives to more closely align their outward appearance with their internal sense of their own gender. Some people may socially transition, for example by changing their dress or using different names. Some people also transition physically, for example, by using hormone therapy or having gender re-assignment surgery.

What is Sur place LGBTI claim?

Sur place LGBTI claims may arise due to changes relating to the gender identity or sexual orientation of the applicant after their departure from their country of origin or because the agent of harm has discovered that the applicant is LGBTI after their departure or because of changes to the legislation or societal attitudes since the applicant’s departure from their country of origin.

LGBTI applicants may not have identified themselves as LGBTI before they departed their country of origin, or may have decided not to act on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Claims may arise where an LGBTI applicant engages in political activism, uses social media, or when their sexual orientation or gender identity is exposed by someone else.

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.

How would I be eligible for a Protection (866) Visa?
  1. You must be in Australia and have arrived here legally, on a valid visa. Such as a student visa or tourist visa.
  2. You must have a fear to return to your home country.
  3. Must establish that your fear is because you will be persecuted due to one or more grounds under the UN Convention (see above).
  4. Otherwise, must demonstrate that there is a real risk that you will suffer some specific sort of harm (see Complementary Protection Requirements discussed above)
Do I need to have an interview with the Department of Home Affairs?

Yes, the DHA will normally interview you to discuss the claims on your application. However, we have seen applicants being refused without even being invited to an interview.

The DHA will normally won’t interview the applicants who have lodged a weak protection visa application, where the applicant has provided vague claims and has failed to submit supporting evidence to reinforce their protection claims.

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. Otherwise, the applicant’s claims must satisfy the complementary protection provisions of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth).

Is subclass 866 Protection Visa a Permanent Visa?

Yes. This visa entitles holders to permanent residency and a pathway to citizenship and the ability to apply to sponsor their family.

What are the Non-refoulement obligations for Australia?

A non-refoulement obligation is an obligation not to forcibly return, deport or expel a person to a place where there are substantial grounds for believing that the person will be at a real risk of a specific type of harm. Australia has non-refoulement obligations under international treaties to which it is a party, including:

  • the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (Refugee Convention) and its 1967 Protocol (non-refoulement obligation expressed in Article 33(1) of the Refugee Convention)
  • the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) (non-refoulement obligation expressed in Article 3)
  • the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) (non-refoulement obligation implied in relation to Articles 6 and 7).
Will I get a Bridging Visa if I apply for the Protection Visa?

Yes, but only if you make a valid application. If your application is valid, you will be given a Bridging Visa to continue to stay in Australia until your protection visa application is finally determined. This means if your student visa or tourist visa expires, you won’t need to be concerned, as the Bridging Visa will allow you to stay in Australia during the processing time.

My student visa expired some time ago and I have lodged another student visa and still waiting for a decision. Can I apply protection visa?

Yes, you can. The fact that you have lodged a student visa and now you are on a bridging visa wont be an issue. In Australia, please can apply for multiple visa applications at the same time.