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Unique or Exceptional Circumstances

The minister has provided guidance on the types of unique and exceptional circumstances he wants brought to his attention.

The table below provides the minister’s list of unique or exceptional circumstances and some examples of the type of supporting documents you may need to provide. This list is not exhaustive.
Note: Providing the documents listed or meeting one of the unique or exceptional circumstances below does not mean the minister will intervene in your case.

Changes to Unique or Exceptional Circumstances

The Migration Amendment (Complementary Protection) Act 2011 implemented on 24 March 2012. From this date Australia's non-return obligations are assessed as part of the statutory Protection visa (PV) process rather than through Ministerial intervention. Further information about Complementary Protection is now available.
See: Fact Sheet 61Seeking Protection within Australia
Types of unique or exceptional circumstances Examples of the different types of documents (documents will vary depending on your circumstances)
Circumstances that may bring Australia’s obligations as a party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CROC) into consideration.
Under CROC, the best interests of a child will be considered as a primary consideration. This includes you, if aged under 18, or a child with whom you have a close relationship.
Example: Your child, stepchild.
  • Documents which support your relationship to the child.
    Example: Birth certificate.
  • If you do not have custody of the child, evidence of your contact with the child.
    Example: Parenting agreement, support payments.
  • Documents supporting why it would not be in the child's best interest for you/the child to depart Australia.

Where relevant:

  • a statutory declaration outlining the impact on the child.
  • medical or psychological reports, where claims raise health issues.
  • supporting letter from the child’s custodial parent, where available.
Note: The department will access information to confirm the situation in your home country.
Strong compassionate circumstances such that failure to recognise them would result in irreparable harm and continuing hardship to an Australian citizen or permanent resident should you leave the country.
  • supporting documents may include birth certificate(s), Australian citizenship papers, marriage certificate, joint utility bills, joint saving accounts.

Where relevant:

  • a statutory declaration outlining how the Australian citizen or permanent resident will suffer irreparable harm and continuing hardship and/or why you cannot make an application for a visa outside Australia.
  • medical or psychological reports, where claims raise health issues.
  • medical/specialist reports confirming an Australian citizen or permanent resident requires ongoing and continuous care that is not otherwise readily available.
  • supporting letter from the Australian citizen or permanent resident or their family members.
Exceptional economic, scientific, cultural or other benefit to Australia.
  • documents supporting why you would be of exceptional benefit to Australia.
  • awards or industry/peer recognition.
  • letters of support from relevant national bodies
    Example: professional/industry/cultural/sporting bodies.
  • evidence of qualifications
    Example: degree, membership of professional bodies.
  • where requested, skills recognition documents by the relevant Australian assessment authority. Information on obtaining assessment of skills and qualifications is available on the department's website.
    See: A-Z Occupations List
  • employer references showing you have been employed in your profession or trade.

Where relevant:

  • business/financial statements
Compassionate circumstances regarding your age and/or health and/or psychological state such that failure to recognise them would result in irreparable harm and continuing hardship to you.
  • documentation supporting irreparable harm and continuing hardship to you if you are returned to your country of origin
  • evidence of your age, and/or health or psychological state.

Where relevant:

  • evidence of age
    Example: birth certificate, passport.
  • medical/specialist/psychological reports.
  • a statutory declaration outlining how you will suffer irreparable harm and continuing hardship for reasons of your age and/or health or psychological state.
  • letter of support from family or others willing to provide you with ongoing care while in Australia.

Note: The department will access information sources to confirm the situation in your home country, including access to appropriate health care.

Length of time you have been present in Australia and your level of integration into the Australian community.
  • documents which demonstrate that you have integrated into the Australian community, including how you and your family participate in the Australian community
    Example: Business ownership records, membership of community organisations, record of enrolment of children in the Australian educational system.
  • supporting letters from community organisations.
Circumstances that the legislation does not anticipate or clearly unintended consequences of legislation or the application of relevant legislation leads to unfair or unreasonable results. Provide reasons:
  • why your circumstances are unique or special and were not anticipated by the legislation for the type of visa you sought
  • how legislation or policy did not anticipate a person in your circumstances being refused a visa
  • how the refusal of your visa has led to unfair or unreasonable results.
You are unable, through circumstances outside your control, to return to your country/countries of citizenship or usual residence.
  • evidence of identity
    Example: Birth certificate, genuine travel document previously issued in your name.
  • evidence that you are unable to obtain or have been denied a new travel document/entry by your country of citizenship or usual residence.

Last reviewed Wednesday 27 August 2014