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Tribunal: Member P Noonan 

Primary Government decision  

The delegate for the Minister for Home Affairs refused to grant the applicants protection visas. 

Administrative Appeals Tribunal decision 

The Tribunal affirmed the decision of a Minister’s delegate not to grant the applicants protection visas as it was not satisfied that either of the applicants was a person to whom Australia owed protection obligations.

Australia has protection obligations under the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) to protect applicants who can satisfy either the ‘refugee criterion’ or the ‘complementary protection criterion’. The ‘refugee criterion’ broadly requires the applicant to have a ‘well-founded fear of persecution’ for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership of a particular social group.  The ‘complementary protection criterion’ requires that there would be ‘a real risk of significant harm’ if the applicant were to be removed from Australia and sent to a receiving country – usually the country of origin. 

The applicants, a married couple from Thailand, arrived in Australia in July 2019 and, 2 months later, applied for protection visas. They said they had left Thailand because, having borrowed money, their lender had become angry with them as they could not repay the debt. They also said they had left Thailand because of poor economic conditions and corruption. They feared persecution should they return. 

The Tribunal did not find the applicants credible or reliable and found much of their evidence inconsistent, vague, or implausible. For example, the applicants could not fully explain or agree on the nature of their money loans, whether their lenders had been relatives or a third party, and the alleged threats they had received from them. The Tribunal did not accept the applicants’ claims. The Tribunal was not satisfied there was a real chance or real risk that the applicants would face harm in Thailand for the reason of owing money to anyone. 

The Tribunal found that the applicants’ concerns about general corruption in Thailand and the poor state of the Thai economy were not harm for a refugee reason under the refugee criterion; and that these risks were faced by the population generally, and not by the applicants personally, meaning they did not meet the requirements of the complementary protection criterion. 

For these reasons, the Tribunal found that the applicants were not owed protection obligations by Australia and affirmed the decisions under review. 

Full decision 

Read the full decision on AustLII. 


Affirm If the Tribunal affirms a decision, the original decision is not changed. 


Every case before the AAT is determined on its individual facts. These summaries may not include all information considered by the AAT and do not constitute legal advice. You should read the full decision to ensure you understand the basis of our decision.