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Decision Time for TPV Holders

Hon Philip Ruddock

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, Australia

11 June 2002

The first refugees to be granted temporary protection visas (TPV) have now reached the stage where they can be considered for the grant of another protection visa, the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, Philip Ruddock, said today.

"When the three-year TPVs were first issued in November 1999, the Government made it clear that TPV holders could apply for another protection visa at any time, but could not be granted a permanent protection visa until they had held their TPV for 30 months," Mr Ruddock said.

TPV holders had used people smugglers to bring them to Australia illegally, and the Australian Government had introduced the temporary visa to discourage the practice.

"The first visas granted in 1999 will expire in November 2002. Those TPV holders who have not already done so need to make a decision in the next months - to apply for another protection visa, or to leave Australia at the end of their visas."

"Applications will be assessed by experienced officers of my Department, against the criteria set down in the Refugees Convention. They will be looking closely at the current situation in the home country."

"It may be that there is no longer any need for some TPV holders to be in fear of persecution if they return home," the Minister said.

Those who were found to be still in need of protection would be granted another Protection Visa. Whether it is a permanent visa, allowing to them settle in Australia and make plans for their long-term future or another temporary visa giving three years residence, will depend on a number of factors, including the actions undertaken by the TPV holder while travelling to Australia and whether there are character concerns.

Those who are rejected will have the right to seek review of the decision through the Refugee Review Tribunal or the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, but must leave Australia if that fails, or if they chose not to seek review.

"As TPV holders reach the 30-month date from the grant of their visas, my Department will write to them to remind they will need to make another application, or make arrangements to leave Australia," Mr Ruddock said


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