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Protection visa interview questions

Sharing Li
Sharing Li
Australian Migration Agent
July 1, 2024
minute read

What is a protection visa interview?

A Protection visa interview is a critical stage of the visa application process for those seeking asylum in Australia. This interview, conducted by the Department of Home Affairs (DoHA), is crucial for assessing the credibility of an applicant's protection claim. Throughout the interview, applicants have the chance to elaborate on their reasons for seeking asylum, address any uncertainties in their application, and provide additional evidence supporting their claims.

Prior to the interview, preparation involves gathering necessary documents like identity papers and evidence for protection claims. If desired, applicants can bring a religious book for those opting to make an oath during the interview. The DoHA employs client information checks and recording to uphold the integrity of the process. Applicants may bring a support person or an Australian Migration Lawyer for moral support.

The interview aims to deepen the DoHA's understanding of the applicant's circumstances and reasons for protection, assessing eligibility for refugee status or complementary protection. Questions ensure consistency between written applications and verbal responses. Applicants also have the opportunity to address adverse information before a decision is made, ensuring a fair process.

Preparation: what happens before the interview starts

Preparation for a Protection visa interview involves several vital steps carried out before the interview begins. Initially, applicants receive a 'request to attend interview' letter from the Department of Home Affairs (DoHA), detailing the interview arrangements. It is imperative to gather essential documents, including original identity papers like passports, national identity cards, and birth certificates.

Additionally, applicants should compile any evidence supporting their protection claims, such as photographs or tangible proof of persecution. For those opting to take an oath during the interview, bringing a religious book is advisable. Furthermore, applicants may choose to bring a support person, such as a friend or family member, to provide moral support. Many applicants also seek assistance from an Australian Migration Agent to effectively navigate the interview process. Finally, applicants should familiarize themselves with the interview recording procedure, as DoHA employs audio recording to ensure accuracy and integrity throughout the interview.

Client information checks and interview recording

Before the Protection visa interview commences, the Department of Home Affairs (DoHA) conducts client information checks and explains the interview recording process. The interviewing officer openly discusses the use of audio recording to ensure the accuracy and integrity of the interview. Seeking permission, they record the discussion to maintain a precise record of the conversation. Throughout this process, the applicant's personal information is safeguarded, adhering to strict confidentiality protocols. Moreover, applicants may inquire about any concerns regarding the recording or the handling of their details, ensuring transparency and confidentiality throughout the interview.

Who can attend with you?

During the Protection visa interview, applicants have the option to bring along a support person, such as an Australian Migration Lawyer, friend, or family member, to offer moral support. Additionally, individuals with limited English proficiency may request an interpreter provided by the Department of Home Affairs (DoHA). Interpreters are bound by strict confidentiality and are prohibited from disclosing any information discussed during the interview. This ensures that applicants can effectively communicate their circumstances and receive necessary support during the interview process.

The interview process

During the interview for the Protection visa, candidates can opt to have a companion, whether it's a close friend, family member, or an advisor like an Australian Migration Agent. Furthermore, those who face language barriers can request an interpreter facilitated by the Department of Home Affairs (DoHA). These interpreters are held to stringent confidentiality standards, ensuring that all discussions remain private. This provision enables applicants to convey their situations accurately and obtain vital assistance throughout the interview phase.

Commonly asked questions and answers in the interview

During the Protection visa interview, applicants can anticipate a range of commonly asked questions aimed at assessing the validity of their claims and understanding their circumstances more comprehensively. These questions often revolve around the reasons for seeking protection, detailing the nature of persecution faced in their home country, and explaining the steps taken to address or escape from the threats encountered.

Additionally, applicants may be questioned about their personal background, family situation, and any supporting evidence provided in their application. It's crucial for applicants to respond truthfully, provide specific examples and details to substantiate their claims, and ensure consistency between their statements and the information provided in their application. Being well-prepared to address these questions can significantly enhance the credibility of the applicant's case during the interview process.

What are the consequences of providing false or misleading information in your protection visa interview?

Providing false or misleading information during a Protection visa interview can have serious consequences for applicants. Not only is it a violation of Australian law, but it can also lead to criminal penalties and the outright rejection of the visa application. Maintaining honesty and transparency throughout the interview process is crucial to uphold the integrity of the application and ensure compliance with legal requirements.

Applicants should be aware that any discrepancies or inconsistencies between their interview responses and the information provided in their application could result in adverse outcomes. Therefore, it is imperative for applicants to truthfully represent their circumstances and provide accurate information during the interview to avoid potential legal repercussions and maintain the credibility of their application. The interviewing officer will openly discuss any relevant adverse information or concerns, adhering to strict confidentiality protocols.

It's essential for applicants to understand the process the Department of Home Affairs (DOHA) employs and be aware of their rights and responsibilities. Additionally, for applicants whose applications are declined, seeking advice from a qualified migration lawyer or appealing to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) may be necessary to address any discrepancies and advocate for their case. See here for further information on the consequences of application refusal. 

Navigating the Post-Interview Phase: What comes next in your protection visa journey

After the protection visa interview, the journey continues with the post-interview phase, which involves further assessment of the application by the Department of Home Affairs (DoHA). Following the interview, DoHA evaluates the details provided during the interview, along with any additional information or evidence submitted. Depending on the complexity of the case and the volume of applications being processed, DoHA may conduct additional investigations or seek further clarification from the applicant or other parties.

The timeline for a protection visa decision varies based on individual circumstances, but DoHA endeavors to expedite the processing of protection visa applications. Throughout this phase, applicants can conveniently monitor the status of their application online through the ImmiAccount portal, ensuring transparency and accessibility in the visa process. It's crucial for applicants to understand the process the DoHA employs and be aware of their rights and responsibilities. Additionally, for applicants whose applications are declined, seeking advice from an Australian Migration Agent or appealing to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) may be necessary. 

What happens if my application is rejected?

In the unfortunate event of a rejection of your Protection visa application, there are several options available to consider. Firstly, you have the opportunity to seek a review of the decision through the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT), an independent body responsible for reviewing decisions made by the Department of Home Affairs (DoHA). It's crucial to adhere to the specified timeframe for initiating the review process and to provide any supplementary information or evidence that could strengthen your case. 

Alternatively, you may choose to submit a new application, especially if there have been changes in your circumstances since the initial submission. Seeking legal advice from experienced migration lawyers can provide valuable insights into the best course of action to take in the event of a rejected application, ensuring that you navigate this challenging situation effectively and with the highest chance of success.

Read on for further information on the consequences of protection visa application refusal

How can Australian Migration Agents help?

As Australian Migration Agents, we can provide invaluable assistance throughout the entire Protection visa process. Firstly, we offer expert guidance and advice on preparing for the Protection visa interview, ensuring that applicants understand what to expect and how to present their case effectively. In the event of a rejected application, we can assist in navigating the appeals process, including preparing submissions to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) and providing representation during hearings. Additionally, we offer strategic advice on alternative pathways to residency or citizenship, helping applicants explore all available options. With our extensive knowledge of immigration law and procedures, we play a crucial role in maximizing the chances of a successful Protection visa outcome.

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