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Tribunal: Member C Huntly

The AAT affirmed the decision of a delegate of the Minister for Immigration (the Department) refusing to grant the applicant a protection visa. While the applicant came to Australia seeking work and a better life for his family, the Tribunal found he was not genuinely seeking protection.

The applicant travelled here on a temporary tourist visa and within a week of arriving had started working. He did not apply for a working visa, nor did he approach the Department or a migration agent to update his visa status. A month after arriving he applied for a protection visa.

Australia is obliged to protect people who satisfy one of two criteria. The first is called the ‘refugee criterion’ and broadly requires the applicant to have a ‘well-founded fear of persecution’.[1] The second is called ‘complementary protection’ grounds and broadly requires that there is ‘a real risk of significant harm’ to the applicant.[2]

The applicant could not identify a single agent of harm in his country of origin, Malaysia. There was no evidence he had been harassed or victimised and he could not explain why it was safe for his wife and children to remain in Malaysia but not him. The applicant feared not being able to find work if he returned to Malaysia, but the member found that generalised concerns about economic and political disadvantage are not recognised grounds for protection in Australia.

The AAT also had concerns about the applicant’s credibility. Under close questioning it became clear he knowingly submitted a document to the Department that included incorrect information about his marital status and the nature of his relationship with his wife, amongst other things.

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[1] Migration Act 1958 (Cth), s 36(2)(a) and s 5H.

[2] Migration Act, s 36(2)(aa) and s 36(2A).