Tribunal: Member Frances Simmons

The Department of Home Affairs (the Department) refused to grant the applicants Protection visas. The applicant requested a review of the decision by the AAT.

The applicants were a married couple from Fiji who claimed to fear harm from the Fijian government if they returned, primarily because of their anti-government opinions and association with an independence movement regarding certain Fijian states. They also claimed to fear they would be at risk of significant harm because there was not adequate support for their medical conditions in Fiji. They further claimed they would be exposed to economic hardship in Fiji for a variety of reasons.

Australia has an obligation under the Migration Act 1958 to protect individuals who satisfy one of two criteria.[1] The first is called the ‘refugee criterion’ and broadly requires the applicants to have a ‘well-founded fear of persecution’.[2] The second is called ‘complementary protection’ grounds and broadly requires that there is ‘a real risk of significant harm’ to the applicants.[3]

In considering the applicant’s claim for protection, the AAT had regard to country information assessments prepared by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Based on this evidence, the AAT concluded that the applicants did not fit the profile of those at risk of serious or significant harm in Fiji because of their political opinion. The AAT accepted that the applicants would be able to earn a comparatively higher income in Australia than in Fiji and that they perceived the quality of medical treatment was better. However, on the evidence before it, the AAT was not satisfied that this would expose the applicants to serious or significant harm.

The AAT concluded that the applicants did not satisfy either grounds for a Protection visa. The AAT affirmed the Department’s decision to refuse the Protection visa.

Read the full decision on AustLII.

 

[1] Section 36(2) of the Migration Act 1958.

[2] Section 36(2)(a) and section 5H for the meaning of a refugee under the Migration Act 1958.

[3] Section 36(2)(aa) and section 36(2A) for the meaning of significant harm under the Migration Act 1958.