Travel warning for refugees with pending citizenship or visa applications

Refugee Council of Australia green logoThe Refugee Council of Australia is increasingly hearing of refugees who have had their Protection visa cancelled while overseas. Often, this has occurred after they have lodged a citizenship or visa application, a further visa application, or been included as a sponsor to a third person’s visa application.

You should not travel overseas if you have applied for Australian citizenship or have a visa application pending and:

  • you have been asked to comment on your Citizenship or visa application, or
  • you have been issued with a ‘Notice of Intention to Consider Cancellation/refusal’ of your visa.

If you travel in these cases, your visa may be cancelled while you are overseas, without you knowing and with no right to have the decision changed.

This is because:

  • under Section 128 of the Migration Act 1958, a visa may be cancelled for various reasons – for instance, where a person has given incorrect information in a previous visa application (s 116(1)(d)) and
  • no notice of their intentions to cancel your visa has to be given if a visa is cancelled for this reason.

If this happens, you will be sent notice of the cancellation of your visa, but only given seven days to provide detailed reasons as to why your visa should be given back to you. If you miss the seven day cut off, you cannot ask for the decision to be changed and you cannot appeal this decision to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

Your visa will be cancelled permanently and you will not be able to return to Australia if you are overseas.

You should seek advice from a lawyer before travelling overseas.

If you do get a letter about your application while you are overseas you should also speak to a lawyer immediately. 

To find a lawyer who can help click here.


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