Refugees (Subclass 866)

Australia’s Refugee and Humanitarian Program aim to assist people in humanitarian need who are either in Australia seeking protection following arrival in Australia or who are outside of Australia and in need to resettle to Australia because they do not have any other solution of a durable nature available.

In terms of onshore protection, the Protection, Subclass 866 Visa is available for people who are physically present in Australia provided they entered Australia on a valid visa and engage Australia’s protection obligations.

If granted, the Protection, Subclass 866 Visa will let you stay in Australia permanently. As well as allowing holders of the Protection, Subclass 866 Visa to live, work and study in Australian permanently, the visa further provides the opportunity to sponsor eligible family members for permanent residence in Australia through the offshore Humanitarian Program.

In accordance with the Migration Act 1958, in order to engage Australia’s protection obligations, you need to be a refugee or meet the complementary protection criteria.


According to the Refugee Convention, as implemented by Australian laws, a refugee is a person who, owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his or her nationality and due to such fear is unable or unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of that country.

An applicant for a Protection, Subclass 866 Visa who is found not to satisfy the necessary criteria to qualify as a refugee may nevertheless be a person to whom Australia has protection obligations based on complementary protection grounds.

Complementary protection is enlivened in circumstances where there are substantial grounds for believing that, as a necessary and foreseeable consequence of a foreign national being removed from Australia to a receiving country, there is a real risk the foreign national will suffer significant harm.