Permanent refugee & humanitarian visas


Since 1 September 1994, the Department of Home Affairs has granted in broad terms 2 kinds of permanent refugee and humanitarian visas:

  • PERMANENT PROTECTION VISAS (subclass 866): These visas are, broadly speaking, granted to persons who enter Australia unlawfully, and who are then found to be refugees within the meaning of the United Nations 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees ('the Convention') or to be at real risk of suffering significant harm in their home country.
  • OFFSHORE REFUGEE AND HUMANITARIAN VISAS (subclasses 200-219): These visas are for persons outside Australia who are subject to persecution or substantial discrimination in their home country. These visas are in turn split into 2 categories - Refugee visas (subclasses 200, 201, 203 and 204) and the Special Humanitarian Program (SHP) (subclass 202).

Over the same period there have also been a number of subclasses of offshore permanent humanitarian visas which have been abolished, namely the Camp Clearance visa (subclass 205) and the special assistance categories (subclasses 208-217).

Holders of permanent refugee and humanitarian visas have a QRE for all payments. That is, holders of these visas are exempt from all qualifying residence and NARWP provisions, provided that they continue to reside in Australia.

Policy reference: SS Guide 9.2.4 Visa subclasses 200-299 payment eligibility, 9.2.12 Visa subclasses 850-899 payment eligibility

Last reviewed: 12 August 2019