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Tribunal: Member Louise Nicholls

The identities of all Protection visa applicants are private.

The applicant was an Algerian citizen who had been living in Australia since 2013 on a temporary visa. He applied for a Protection visa on 14 November 2013, which a delegate of the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection refused. The applicant applied to the AAT for a review of this decision.

A Protection visa may be granted if the applicant can satisfy one of two criteria.[1] The first is called the ‘refugee criterion’ and broadly requires the applicant to have a ‘well-founded fear of persecution’.[2] The second is called ‘complementary protection’ grounds and broadly requires the applicant to have ‘a real risk of significant harm’.[3]

The applicant’s reasons for the original application were different to the reasons provided to the AAT. His original claim was that he feared the military authorities because he ignored his summons for enlistment and he also feared the terrorist groups that would target him if he was made to complete his military service. The applicant visited Algeria for 5 weeks in 2017 and got married. During his visit he received an exemption from military service. The applicant’s claim for protection before the AAT was that he feared returning because he no longer believed in Islam and Islamic extremists in his local area will target him if they realise.

The AAT looked at various official reports on the security situation in Algeria[4] that showed the security situation had changed significantly in the last twenty years and that the Algerian security forces had been successful in removing terrorist groups. Algerian authorities exercise effective control of security and police were professional and responsive to calls for assistance. The country information discussed with the applicant indicated that the northern coastal cities are secure and that authorities provide effective state protection against any threats of harm from terrorist attacks.

The applicant claimed government reports were not reliable and that terrorism still existed in Algeria and whilst he was happy to go back and see his mother from time to time, he could not return to live there permanently.

The AAT did not accept much of the applicant’s evidence finding his account of events was confused, vague and lacked plausible detail. 

Taking all the evidence into account, the AAT did not accept the applicant’s claim that terrorist groups were operating in the applicant’s local area in Algeria and that they would harm him if he returned to live in Algeria in the foreseeable future because he no longer believed in Islam.

The AAT concluded that the applicant did not have a ‘well-founded fear of persecution’ and he did not face a ‘real risk of significant harm’.

The AAT affirmed the decision not to grant the applicant a Protection visa, which means the decision was not changed.

Read the full written 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

[4] Reports included the CIA Factbook, The US International Religious Freedom Report for 2017, Janes Sentinel reports and the UK Home Office country information. See the footnotes from the full written decision.