Tribunal: Member Colin Edwardes

The Department of Home Affairs (the Department) refused to grant the applicant Australian citizenship. The Department was not satisfied as to the applicant’s identity, a requirement for issuing Australian citizenship.[1] The applicant applied to the AAT for a review of the decision.

The Department argued that the applicant did not provide sufficient documentation to prove her identity..

The applicant, who identifies as ethnic Chin from Myanmar, arrived in Australia in 2012 on a refugee visa. She claimed she was never issued a birth certificate because she was born and lived in a rural village in a remote part of Myanmar. The applicant stated she left Myanmar illegally because she was in danger of torture and persecution. She provided a marriage certificate and birth certificates for children who were born in Malaysia following her departure from Myanmar.

The applicant also claimed she could not source documents from Myanmar to confirm her identity because she had been ‘blacklisted’ due to her illegal departure and that making such a request would endanger her family in Myanmar.

In support of her claims, the applicant provided various statutory declarations attesting to her identity from her brother, husband, friends and others.

The AAT was satisfied as to the identity of the applicant having considered all the evidence. The AAT pointed out that identity may be established through means other than official documentation, and that identity is not a fixed concept, being highly dependent on context.[2] The AAT considered it relevant that the applicant had portrayed a consistent life story.

The AAT acknowledged that the applicant had not been able to produce official documentation but accepted her explanation for this.

The AAT set aside the decision and remitted the matter to the Department for reconsideration.

Read the full decision on AustLII.

 

 

[1] Section 24(3) of the Australian Citizenship Act 2007(Cth)

[2] Dhayakpa v Minister for Immigration and Border Protection (2015) 148 ALD 162