Australia is a Contracting State to the 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of refugees, and has a well-established system for determining refugee status.
Decisions regarding the determination of refugee status in Australia are the responsibility of the Government of Australia.
UNHCR has a supervisory responsibility in Australia in accordance with article 35 of the 1951 Convention. UNHCR does not have a direct role in refugee status determination in Australia.
UNHCR reviews some individual cases brought to its attention as part of its supervisory role on application of the 1951 Convention. It is the practice of UNHCR to accept a case for review only after all avenues of appeal have been exhausted. A formal request for individual case review should be made to UNHCR Canberra by the concerned asylum-seeker, or their duly authorized advocate or legal representative. The formal request should be accompanied by any additional documentation relating to the individual’s claim for asylum, and include the primary decision, administrative review, and/or judicial review, request for Ministerial intervention, and any other information relevant to the claim.
UNHCR may make recommendations to the Australia Government, in exceptional circumstances, in the basis of serious substantive or procedural concerns, doctrinal differences in the interpretation of the 1951 Refugee Convention, and/or cases which are illustrative of broader systemic issues within Australia’s refugee status determination system. However, UNHCR has no power to overturn decisions made by the Australian authorities.
UNHCR Regional Office Canberra's "Guidance to legal representatives, advocates, non-government organizations and community groups in Australia" gives further information on our role in Australia.
For detailed advice and information on seeking asylum in Australia, please refer to the Department of Immigration & Citizenship.
IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: The information presented in this website is general in nature and may not be applicable in particular circumstances. We advise you to contact UNHCR’s Regional Office in Canberra for further advice and/or assistance regarding specific issues or needs you may have.