Refugee FAQs

Refugees are regular people who, through no fault of their own, have been forced to leave their homes in search of safety. People often have little or no warning before they are forced from their homes due to war or persecution, and many refugees have to undertake dangerous journeys to reach safety.

They must leave behind their family, friends and most or all of their belongings, and they cannot return unless the situation that forced them to leave improves. The 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, to which Australia is a signatory, defines a refugee as: "Any person who owing to a well founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his/her nationality and is unable, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself/herself of the protection of that country."

This definition is used by the Australian Government to determine whether our country has protection obligations towards an individual. If a person is found to be a refugee, Australia is obliged under international law to offer protection and support and to ensure that they are not sent back unwillingly to the country of origin. (RCOA)

Success stories

Simon Shahin: The road from Syria to Australia

Former refugee Simon Shahin standing in front of a tree.From the first day I arrived in Australia, it felt like home. Everyone gets homesick sometimes, but if you have goals and dreams, it constantly drives you forward and takes your mind off the past.

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