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Ministerial Intervention

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Ministerial Intervention

Refugees & Human Rights


Under the Migration Act 1958 the Minister has powers to intervene in your case in certain and rare circumstances. Such as if the Minister thinks it is in the public interest to do so.

The law prevents you from seeking intervention, until you have a decision from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and that decision has be the subject of review by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

Seeking the Minister to intervein is a complex and technical process. The minister has a discretion as to what is and what is not in the public interest. Importantly the Minister is not legally bound to intervene or to consider intervening.

Should the Minister intervene to make a more favourable decision, this usually means that the Minister grants a visa. It must be understood that only a small number of all requests for ministerial intervention are successful.

It is important to note that there are strict time limits for making an application for Ministerial Intervention.

You must also take care to remain lawful. (Bridging Visa – we can help here too).

Refugee & Humanitarian Law

What is a Refugee?

Refugees are people who are seeking a safe haven after being forced to flee violence, persecution and war.  

The word refugee come from the word refuge – “the state of being sheltered from pursuit, danger or difficulty”. A global definition of refugees was recognized in the Geneva Convention.

Refugees are defined and protected in international law. The 1951 Refugee Convention is a key legal document and defines a refugee as:


“someone who is unable or unwilling to return to their country of origin owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion.”


By the end of 2017, there were 25.4 million refugee men, women and children registered across the world. 

There are more than 25 million refugees worldwide.  More than 11 million of them are children.

Refugee children are among the most vulnerable in the world. Every day, they risk loss of some kind, including the loss of the future that every child deserves.

Protection in Australia:

The magnitude and complexity of the issues arising from the flow of asylum seekers and refugees globally poses huge challenges for the world’s destination countries, including Australia. These countries universally struggle to maintain a balance between controlling national borders and offering protection to millions of displaced people. When the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was established in 1951, there were approximately 1.5 million refugees internationally.  At the end of 2009 there were an estimated 43.3 million forcibly displaced people worldwide, including 15.2 million refugees, 983 000 asylum seekers and 27.1 million internally displaced persons (IDPs). It is estimated that there were an additional 25 million people displaced due to natural disasters.

The Australian Government has recognised the magnitude of these global trends noting that the numbers of people seeking asylum in Australia are small compared to those seeking asylum in Europe and other parts of the world.    Australia has a long history of accepting refugees for resettlement and over 700 000 refugees and displaced persons, including thousands during and immediately after World War II, have settled in Australia since 1945.

What is the difference between an asylum seeker and a refugee?  

There is a great deal of confusion about the difference between an asylum seeker and a refugee and often the terms are used interchangeably or incorrectly. An asylum seeker is someone who is seeking international protection but whose claim for refugee status has not yet been determined. In contrast, a refugee is someone who has been recognised under the 1951 Convention relating to the status of refugees to be a refugee. The Convention defines a ‘refugee’ as any person who:

… owing to well‐founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it …

The definition of ‘refugee’ does not cover other individuals or groups of people who leave their country only because of war or other civil disturbance, famine, natural disasters or in order to seek a better life. As the UNHCR explains:  

Refugees flee because of the threat of persecution and cannot return safely to their homes in the prevailing circumstances. An economic migrant normally leaves a country voluntarily to seek a better life. Should they elect to return home, they would continue to receive the protection of their government.

AR LAW SERVICES: Lawyers & Consultants challenges the excesses of government. We seeks to champion the rights of those who are disadvantaged by an unfair balance of power. We believe legal action that supports social justice and human rights contributes to a better society as a whole. 

It is from this perspective that we represent:

  • Asylum seekers & Refugee
  • Victims of Crime
  • Survivors of Domestic violence
  • Those who believe their personal integrity has been in some way violated.

For more see Human rights page.


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Be advised the Information on this website does not constitute legal advice nor personal/corporate migration advice and should not be treated as such. It is information of a general nature and should not be relied on. For an assessment of your personal circumstances and formal legal/visa advice please speak to our accredited Immigration Lawyer.