Labor and the Greens teamed up in the Australian Senate on Monday night to scuttle the government's reintroduction of temporary protection visas.
A disallowance motion in the Senate was passed by 36 votes to 26, to quash the visas.
AAP reports the government reintroduced temporary protection visas via regulation in October. It must now wait for six months to reintroduce regulation of the same substance.
Temporary visas were used during the Howard government era. They gave refugees protection for up to three years and banned them from applying for permanent protection.
Labor abolished the visas in August 2008.
In a statement issued late on Monday Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said:
"The vote to abolish TPVs (temporary protection visas) is a vote to deliver on the promise of people smugglers to more than 33,000 people who turned up illegally on boats."
AAP reports he added that a backlog of asylum seekers waiting to be issued with visas under Labor's system will not be settled by the coalition.
"We will be keeping our promise to deny permanent residence to those who arrived illegally by boat, whether they turned up three months ago or three years ago."