Refugee Legal is Australia’s largest not-for-profit provider of free legal services in its specialist field of immigration and refugee law.

  • Total client assistance:
  • Telephone advice:
  • Face-to-face advice:
  • People represented:
  • Fast track advice & assistance
  • 17,254
  • 6,685
  • 4,228
  • 2,167
  • 4,174
  • Afghanistan
  • Iran
  • Myanmar
  • Sri Lanka
  • Pakistan
  • Ukraine
  • Malaysia
  • Ethiopia
  • India
  • Somalia
  • Iraq
  • Sudan
  • China

Where our work makes its impact – transforming lives

From fear to living safely

Maya came to Australia in 2020 to study engineering. Her visa expired in May 2021. The military coup of February 2021 meant she was unable to safely return to Myanmar. She was terrified of being deported. Through a friend, she met a man who said he could help her to get her a visa, for a fee. Maya didn’t know her rights and options and did not have much money but believed she had no choice but to pay the amount requested. She wasn’t told the kind of visa that was applied for, but believed it was a bridging visa. She later discovered it was a protection visa and that it had been refused. Maya contacted Refugee Legal for help. We found that all the information in the protection visa application was false. She was unaware of this. Refugee Legal provided full legal representation before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). We presented her true and correct claims, and the AAT made a positive finding in her case quickly, without holding a hearing. Maya was granted a permanent protection visa to live in safety in Australia.

No longer in limbo

Nilan arrived by boat from Sri Lanka in 2013. He was prohibited from applying for any kind of visa until 2016, when he was assessed through the then Commonwealth Government’s Fast Track process. He was granted a five-year SHEV visa in 2017. He did not apply for a subsequent visa before his initial visa expired as he had moved and the notice had been sent to his old address. As a result of his visa status, he was unable to work and ended up homeless, living in his car. Nilan asked Refugee Legal for help. We decided he needed personal permission from the Minister to lodge an application for a resolution of status visa and made the case. The permission was quickly given. His visa application was lodged through our clinic and the visa was granted soon after. After 10 years of living in limbo, Nilan is now able to move on with his life. He has secure employment and stable accommodation.

Family violence

Anika arrived in Australia from Malaysia in 2016 on a visitor visa with her young son. While on holiday, she met Aakesh and they fell in love. After Anika returned to Malaysia, Aakesh sponsored her to return to Australia as his fiancé on a prospective marriage visa. Anika became pregnant with their child. After Anika arrived in Australia, Aakesh became increasingly violent towards her. Not long after this, Anika gave birth to their daughter. Following one particularly violent incident, Anika called the police. They attended and took out an invention order against Aakesh. Anika and her children were assisted to enter a women’s refuge and were referred to us for immigration advice. Anika was very worried that if she didn’t stay with Aakesh she would have to leave Australia. When speaking with our lawyer, Anika revealed that her son’s father in Malaysia had also been violent towards her over the course of many years and had threatened to kill her and take her son. We assisted Anika to lodge an application for a protection visa so that she could remain safely with her children in Australia. This was refused by the Department of Home Affairs without interview. We then assisted Anika to appeal to the AAT. We argued that Anika would face harm in Malaysia and that she would not be protected by the Malaysian authorities. The Tribunal accepted that there was a significant chance of serious harm to Anika if she returned to Malaysia. After a seven-year battle, Anika was finally found to be owed protection. Anika and her children can now rebuild their lives in dignity and safety.

* Personal details have been changed to protect confidentiality