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Tribunal: Member Frances Simmons

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection refused the applicants’ Protection visas on 7 December 2015. The applicants applied to the AAT for a review of this decision. Only the first named applicant appeared at the Tribunal hearing. The second and third named applicants applied for the visas on the basis that they were members of the first named applicant’s (the applicant) family unit.

The applicant, an Indonesian national, claimed to fear harm from debt collectors acting on behalf of disgruntled pilgrims. The applicant claimed that he was the Finance Director and shareholder of a tourism company in Jakarta focusing on Hajj pilgrimage tours. Due to a religious difference with the primary shareholder, Mr B, there was a breakdown of their relationship. The applicant claimed that Hajj pilgrimage tours were arranged that did not occur and that the money the pilgrims paid was embezzled by Mr B. He claimed that Mr B withdrew from the business and told the pilgrims the applicant was responsible for taking the money, which he used to become a majority shareholder.

A Protection visa may be granted if an applicant can satisfy one of two criteria.[1] The first is called the ‘refugee criterion’ and broadly requires an applicant to have a ‘well-founded fear of persecution’.[2] The second is called ‘complementary protection’ grounds and broadly requires an applicant to have ‘a real risk of significant harm’.[3] This application also concerned two applicants that were applying as members of the family unit of the person seeking the Protection visa. They may also qualify for visas if the primary applicant satisfies the criteria and is issued a Protection visa.[4]

The AAT had doubts about the credibility of the applicant. There were significant changes in important elements of the applicant’s claims over time such as when and in what circumstances Mr B withdrew from the company. The AAT found elements of the claims regarding why the applicant was personally targeted instead of the company to be highly improbable. The AAT considered the fact that the applicant resided continuously at the same address up until he left Indonesia and that his wife voluntarily returned cast doubt on his claims that debt collectors threatened to harm him and his family. The AAT was also concerned that the applicant raised new claims for the first time before the AAT and delayed in applying for a protection visa.  The AAT considered the documentation submitted but found that the evidence did not assist the applicant’s case.

The AAT did not accept that the applicant’s claims were credible and found he was not a witness of truth.  It did not accept that the applicant was targeted by the debt collectors or anyone else.

The AAT concluded that the applicants did not meet the criteria for a Protection visa and affirmed the Department’s decision.

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] Section 36(2)(b) or (c) of the Migration Act 1958