19 November 2020
The Morrison Government has hiked up the Federal Circuit Court fees for migration cases by fourfold, from $690 to $3,330, seriously undermining access to the justice system.
Around one-third of appeals made against Immigration Assessment Authority (IAA) decisions on claims by people who arrived by sea before 2013, the so-called Fast Track cases, are successful.
This means there is a high rate of unlawful decision making in this area of law, which will remain unchecked unless people are able to access the courts.
The hike will further discriminate against many people seeking asylum and those on temporary visas because they are not entitled to any government support and, in some cases, do not have work rights during their appeal process.
The Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) application fee charged by the Migration & Refugee Division for cases refused is already very high, at $1,826, in comparison with other divisions of the AAT, which are mostly set at $952 or as some cases, have no fee at all.
Principal Solicitor and Manager of the ASRC’s Human Rights Law Program, Dr Carolyn Graydon said:
“People who do not meet the stringent means test for full fee exemption in Federal Circuit Court, but still have very low income or savings will lose their legal right to test the lawfulness of IAA or AAT decisions to deny them protection.”
“The Federal Circuit Court and the whole asylum legal system is heavily overloaded, with people waiting for an outcome to their asylum cases for up to eight years now
“The quadruple fee hike could see people miss application deadlines or delay applying to court because they cannot afford the fees, which could result in the Court refusing to accept their late application.
“This fee hike is another move by the Morrison Government to deny due legal process and justice to people seeking asylum, leaving them without the means to challenge the unlawful decisions made by the IAA or the AAT that deny them protection and safety in Australia.”