The Immigration Guardianship of Children Act 1946 Cth (IGOC Act) governs the legal status of Unaccompanied Humanitarian Minors (UHM).
Under the IGOC Act, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection determines whether or not an unaccompanied humanitarian minor falls under their legal guardianship.
Unaccompanied humanitarian minors who do fall under the guardianship of the Minister of Immigration and Border Protection are regarded as wards.
The Minister delegates his function as guardian of wards to officers in the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and relevant child welfare authorities in each state and territory. In Victoria, this function is delegated to Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
Types of unaccompanied humanitarian minors
UHM Non-wards – non-wards are young people who have a close relative in Australia over the age of 21, who is able to accept care and responsibility for them
UHM Wards – wards are young people who do not have a close relative (over 21 years of age) living in Australia that is able to accept care and responsibility for them
Unaccompanied asylum seeking minors – unaccompanied asylum seeking minors are children and young people under the age of 18, who enter Australia without parents and without having been granted a visa before their arrival in Australia.