Iranian refugees retain protection visas despite holidaying in homeland

Six Iranian boat people have been given permission to stay in Australia despite being caught taking trips back to the country they left in fear of their lives.

Since receiving their Australian protection visas, some of them returned numerous times to Iran, sparking suspicion from Immigration Minister Peter Dutton on their intentions for living in Australia.

However, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) foiled Mr Dutton’s attempts to deport the Iranians, allowing them to stay here anyway, The Daily Telegraph reports.

Documents obtained by the newspaper reveal in each case, the Iranians, who paid people smugglers to get to Australia, were given protection visas after claiming their lives would be in danger if they returned to Iran.

The visas were cancelled by Mr Dutton, or his delegate, after the Immigration Department discovered they voluntarily returned to Iran and later came back to Australia.

Mr Dutton had his decision to cancel the visas overturned by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. Photo: AAP

The six people each arrived in Australia between 2009 and 2014.

It's understood one person made three return trips to Iran after getting their Australian visa.

One of the three trips was to get married under Islamic law.

The AAT reinstated the protection visa after ruling that just because the person took trips from Australia to Iran, it didn't mean the person didn’t fear persecution in the country.

Another person claimed to be on an Iranian wanted list but the Immigration Department later discovered the person was in no danger if they returned to Iran.

Mr Dutton’s delegate found the person had not fled Iran on a false identity, was not in any danger in Iran and was an economic migrant rather than a genuine refugee and thus cancelled the protection visa.

A couple who arrived by boat claimed to have no identification documents and they would be killed if they returned.

However it was revealed they actually had valid Iranian passports when they travelled to Iran and back using them.

In both these cases, the AAT found the individual and the couple had lied on their visa applications, but still overturned the decision to kick them out of Australia.

And two Iranian family members claimed to be stateless with no identity documents.

It was soon discovered this wasn't the case when another family member applied to join them in Australia and provided documents to show all were Iranian citizens who were in no danger.

The AAT reinstated their visas after accepting the documents were fake, even though an expert gave evidence to the AAT that the documents were genuine.

'Fake refugee' reports spark outrage

Ben Davis from Brisbane radio station 4BC asked who is actually running the country.

"Is it the elected official in Peter Dutton or the faceless bed wetting, heart bleeding bureaucrats who somehow think it's not a breach of national security?" asked Davis on Sunrise.

"These bureaucrats need to be rounded up and charged with breaching national security because that's exactly what this is."

It appears the AAT overturning the decision made by Mr Dutton isn't an isolated case after it was revealed earlier this week the tribunal is already under pressure for overturning thousands of visa decisions made by Mr Dutton or his delegate in the past year.

The Iranians have been granted permission to stay in Australia by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. Photo: AAP / Stock

When asked by News Corp on Monday about the Iranians having their visas reinstated by the AAT, a spokesman for Mr Dutton said he was considering his next step.

“The minister has the power to set aside AAT decisions,” the spokesman said.

“These matters will be reconsidered in due course. All matters are considered on a case-by-case basis.”

Despite the AAT writing in the documents that it was satisfied the Iranian asylum seekers lied to Australian authorities about the dangers they faced if they were sent back to Iran, it still overturned the decisions by the minister to deport them and allowed them all to stay in Australia.

The six Iranians aren't able to be named for legal reasons.