Global Special Humanitarian Visa– Subclass 202

What is a Global Special Humanitarian Visa?

Subclass 202 is the subclass used for the special humanitarian program (SHP) category of the humanitarian program. This visa is intended to assist persons with links to Australia who may not be refugees but who are subject to serious human rights violations and for whom resettlement in Australia is the appropriate solution.

This visa primary criteria provide for grant of a visa to an applicant in two circumstances.

+ What is Visa Capping?

Under section 85 of the Migration Act, the Minister may, by legislative instrument, determine the maximum number of visas in a specified class that may be granted in a specified program year. This establishes a numerical limit (“cap”) on that visa class. At the time of writing, there is no legislative instrument for refugee and protection visa in regard to visa capping. The current prioritisation order is as follows:

What is the Application Process?

The Applicant must satisfy the following requirements:

+ What does referral by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees(UNHCR) mean?

Subclass 203 visa is used primarily for cases referred to the Department of Immigration by UNHCR. In June 2003 the Department and UNHCR signed an arrangement setting out the procedures for managing Emergency Rescue cases. Under this arrangement, UNHCR undertakes to refer only those cases:

  • in which the need for evacuation is so urgent that priority refugee processing would be inadequate and
  • where the reason for emergency evacuation is not medical and
  • that do not have a clear connection to another country offering emergency resettlement and
  • that prima facie would not fail character or security requirements.

The agreement further states that UNHCR refers cases by submitting a Resettlement Registration Form (RRF) to Humanitarian Programme Management Section via its Canberra regional office and to the relevant processing centre, called the post. Humanitarian Programme Management Section will consult the post and, depending on the individual case, may also seek advice from the Country of Origin Information Services Section, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the Minister’s office and areas of the department involved in public interest checks and settlement. Humanitarian Programme Management Section will make an in-principle decision to accept or decline the referral and advise UNHCR accordingly within two working days of receipt of the RRF.

If the referral is accepted, UNHCR assists the applicant to complete and lodge an application form at the post. If possible, the application should be processed and finalised to enable the applicant to travel within three working days of the date UNHCR is notified that the referral has been accepted.

If the referral is declined and it is appropriate to do so, the post may invite a Class XB application for consideration under another subclass.

+ Persons not referred by UNHCR

Each authorised post may receive approaches from organisations other than UNHCR or from individuals who wish to be considered under emergency rescue provisions. In such cases the organisation or individual should be advised to contact the local UNHCR office in the first instance. If the case appears to meet Class XB criteria and warrants emergency processing the post should also contact Humanitarian Programme Management Section for further advice. In such cases it may also be appropriate to consult with the local office of UNHCR.

+ What are Assessment procedures?

Emergency rescue cases are assessed by the relevant post in close consultation with Humanitarian Programme Management Section. The local UNHCR and IOM offices will also assist the post if required. The assessment procedures to be followed largely depend on the individual circumstances of each case and officers may be required to make decisions on the basis of minimal documentation. In all cases, however, the applicant must submit a completed and signed Form 842 with photographs (full details of the applicant’s claims will be set out in the RRF). Wherever possible the post should interview the applicant before granting a visa.

Although the Assistant Secretary, Refugee and Humanitarian Programme Branch, decides whether to accept a UNHCR referral for processing as an emergency rescue case, once a Class XB application is lodged the decision to refuse or grant the visa rests with the s65 delegate at the post. Humanitarian Programme Management Section is responsible for policy advice and overall coordination of the areas of the department and the agencies involved in emergency resettlement. Refugee and Humanitarian Assistance Section liaises with IOM as necessary to expedite travel.

+ What are Public interest criteria checks?

Humanitarian Programme Management Section liaises with the post and relevant areas of the department to facilitate health, character and security checking (if required).

Wherever possible, posts should arrange for the applicant to undergo normal health checks with a panel doctor and radiologist. IOM may be able to assist with health checks for applicants in remote areas. Due to the urgency of Subclass 203 applications, a flexible approach to health checks may be required and the procedures will vary according to the circumstances of each case. In all cases, a finding must be made that PIC 4007 (the health requirement) is satisfied before a visa can be granted.

The post should also attempt to obtain penal clearances in the usual manner, but if this is not possible or would delay visa grant to the point of endangering the applicant, a character statutory declaration by the applicant can be considered. This document should be scanned and emailed to Humanitarian Programme Management Section via the Humanitarian Helpdesk to seek waiver of the penal certificate requirement.

If a security check is required, posts should initiate it in the Security Referral System (SRS). Humanitarian Programme Management Section will liaise with National Security, Assessment and Counter Proliferation Operations Section to expedite the checking process. If a war crimes check is necessary, advice may need to be sought by emailing War Crimes Screening.

If there is no Australian Government presence in the country where the applicant is living, UNHCR will endeavour, within its guidelines, to assist with character and security checking by interviewing the applicant with questions provided by the post.

+ What is Persecution?

The applicant must be subject to persecution in the home country. The Applicant must demonstrate that they are subject to persecution in their home country. The term, ‘persecution’ is given its ordinary meaning. Oxford Dictionary defines ‘persecution’ as:

"Hostility and ill-treatment, especially because of race or political or religious beliefs; oppression"

Persecution requires repeated or persistent oppression, injury, maltreatment or harassment. The Applicant will be assessed on the available provided evidence to determine whether they are open to, exposed to, or under the domination of persecutory acts in their home country. Evidence of persecution includes, but is not limited to:

  • Threats to the Applicant’s life, liberty or security;
  • Continued periodic harassment, detention or arrest
  • Arbitrary arrest, detention or exile
  • Exile from the home country or to a remote area within that country
  • Torture, or cruel and inhuman or degrading treatment
  • Slavery
  • Servitude without compensation
  • Confiscation of property or assets
  • Indoctrination or re-education

+ What are Urgent and compelling reasons for travel?

Subclass 203 visa may be granted only if there are urgent and compelling reasons for the applicant to travel to Australia.

To satisfy this criterion the applicant must, under policy, be in exceptional circumstances whereby there is an immediate threat to their life or personal security that can only be avoided by emergency travel. For example, the applicant may be in a country of first asylum and facing an immediate threat of arrest and refoulement to their home country. Subclass 203 is used for cases only if the need for the applicant's evacuation and resettlement is so urgent that priority processing under other subclasses would be inadequate.

What We Like About This Visa?

The cost of 203 visa for the main applicant as well as for additional applicant is zero. You don’t have to pay any fee for this visa program. Although, you may have to pay for the additional requirements as per the guidance of the Department of Immigration that includes documentation, health character certificate, and police clearance certificate.

The fee for this visa is nil until unless you are applying under Community Pilot [insert hyperlink to Community Pilot article]. The Australian Government pay for your expenses like traveling and for other additional documents like health assessment and cultural orientation before you leave for Australia.

After the grant of visa, the section of Australian Immigration as well as Border Protection, inquire about your visa approval and other useful information like your visa grant number, at what time you will utilize this visa and is there any other condition added in this visa.

The Emergency Rescue Visa Subclass 203 proffers the passage to many benefits:

  • Full right to stay in Australia on the permanent basis

  • Complete studies in Australia during his stay

  • Register name in Australia’s scheme for healthcare and medical facilities i.e. Medicare

  • Enter and leave Australia as many times since the day visa is valid

  • Sponsor family members for permanent residency in Australia if able to satisfy the eligibility criteria

  • Apply for Australian citizenship, after spending the beginning years in Australia and meet the eligibility criteria

  • Enlist your name in English language classes.

What Mistakes Do People Usually Make?


Client Testimonials

….we call it Support Network

As navigating through the immigration law process may be difficult, our former clients have agreed to share their experiences through telephone chats, emails and meeting in person.

These are their stories…

What Questions Do Migration Agents Ask Our Accredited Specialists

  1. Under what business structure, can a job placement company, apply to be a sponsor with the sole purpose of charging a fee to visa applicants? And is there a method which would allow the sponsor to place the visa applicant with another unrelated business?

  2. How can employers charge a payment to the visa applicants in exchange to sponsor, without being caught under the immigration offence ‘cash for visa’?

  3. How many types of visas (including streams), can a Temporary Activities Sponsor benefit from, in sponsoring more candidates? And are there any difference in the sponsorship obligation?

  4. Can a visa applicant pay for costs related to the visa applicant? or must the Sponsor pay for all costs? How do I explain & educate my client, a large company who does not wish to pay for any costs for the sponsorship because the Director feels that the visa applicant has more to benefit than the company.

  5. In what circumstances will a visa applicant lose their right to appeal a refusal?

How Much Do We Charge?

Other Charges

Police Clearance
- $47 (Australia)
- TBA (Outside Australia)

Health Insurance

Interpreter & Translator

Job Advertisements

Other 3rd Party Services
(only if applicable)
- Recognized Prior Learning
- Skills Assessment
- Registration/Membership/Licence
- Labour Market Testing (Unions only)
- Business Plan writers
- Accounting services
- Researchers for salary, LMT, etc

Professional Fees

Sponsorship Application
(a) From $1,000 + GST
(b) From $2,000 + GST
(c) From $3,000 + GST

Nomination Application
(a) From $1,000 + GST
(b) From $2,000 + GST
(c) From $3,000 + GST

Visa Application
(a) From $1,000 + GST
(b) From $2,000 + GST
(c) From $3,000 + GST

Dependent Application
(a) From $1,000 + GST
(b) From $2,000 + GST
(c) From $3,000 + GST

Credit Card Surcharge
- MasterCard: 1.5%
- VISA: 1.67%
- American Express: 2.75%
- EFTPOS: 30 cents

Immigration Charges

Sponsorship Application
- $420

Nomination Application
- $330

Levy Charges
- $1200 per annum (<$10m)
- $1,600 per annum (>$10m)

Visa Application
- $1,000 (over 18 years)
- $2,000 (under 18 years)
- $700pp (applying in Australia)

Health Check
- $330 (chest x-ray)
- $330 (medical exam)

Credit Card Surcharge
- MasterCard: 1.32%
- VISA: 1.32%
- American Express: 1.40%
- Diners Club: 1.99%
- JCB: 1.40%

a newer & better
financial expectation

The beautiful part is that if you find that your immigration lawyer does not meet your expectations, you have the option of changing immigration lawyers with different teams, without having to completely change law firms where they’d charge a significant amount as part of the initial fact finding and preliminary advice.


What are the Legal Personas to Choose From?

Our lawyers are considered “book-smart”, while others are more inclined towards being labelled “street-smart”. The younger lawyers tend to be very fast & responsive, but a handful are slow (although they beg to differ, that slow & steady wins the race). The older lawyers are usually more attentive and have a reputation of customer relations. But if money is no object, you can engage a bunch of them, or all of them.

Why are there different prices for the same service?

We have a variety of legal professionals, allowing you the freedom to choose according to lawyer’s fees, speed, experience and most importantly a personality that matches yours. This way, our clients get the best of shopping around different law firms while eliminating the need to re-tell the story again and transferring of supporting documents. Naturally, junior lawyers charge lower fees and the more years of experience our lawyers gain, the higher their fees. However, it is not all always about profiting, some of our lawyers are open to pro-bono cases (free legal advice).

Similar to the concept of “shopping centers”

shopping around has never been easier