Visa Refusal Appeal

Have you received a notice of intention to cancel you visa or has your visa been refused? 

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What if my visa application is refused or my visa is cancelled?

If your visa is refused or cancelled, you might be able to have the decision reviewed by a merits review tribunal, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).

Not all decisions are reviewable by the AAT. For example, if the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection personally decides to refuse or cancel your visa under section 501 of the Migration Act 1958, you cannot apply to have a decision reviewed by the AAT.

Common Visa refusal reasons

  • you have not met the conditions of a previous visa
  • you did not provide enough information to prove the claims you made in your application
  • you do not meet Australia’s health or character requirements
  • you gave the wrong information, or made a false claim in your application (bogus documents or misleading information)
  • For student visas, when your prefered course of study is not in line with your previous studies
  • Not showing that you are able to support yourself financially
  • For employer sponsored visas, when the business sponsoring you is not viable or there is no genuine need, the pay is not according to market salary rates and many more.

Administrative Appeals Tribunal

If your visa is refused or cancelled, you might be able to have the decision reviewed by a merits review tribunal.

The AAT is an independent organisation that reviews government decisions. Within the AAT, specialist offices review specific types government decisions.

Departmental decisions are usually reviewed within the AAT’s:

  • General Division, which reviews decisions relating to:
    • character matters (including section 501 of the Migration Act 1958)
    • citizenship matters; or
    • Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (OMARA) matters.
  • Migration and Refugee Division (MRD), which reviews decisions relating to most migration and refugee visa refusals (including refusal of sponsorship or nomination) and visa cancellations.
  • Immigration Assessment Authority, an independent office within the AAT’s MRD that reviews fast track reviewable decisions relating to certain Protection visa decisions.

Not all decisions are reviewable by the AAT. For example, you cannot apply to have a decision reviewed by the AAT if the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection personally decides to refuse or cancel your visa under section 501 of the Migration Act 1958.

What will happen after review?

The review tribunal will make one of the following decisions:

Affirm:

This is when the AAT  agrees with the department’s decision to cancel or refuse your visa and so the decision that the department has made will stand.

Set aside:

the Department’s decision, meaning the AAT has the view that the decision should be changed. The AAT may replace (substitute) the decision with a new decision.

Remit:

the Department’s decision, meaning the AAT has the view that the decision must be reconsidered. The department is required to reconsider the application having regard to the directions made by the AAT.

No jurisdiction: 

meaning the AAT had no power to review the departments decision.

Apply for a review ON TIME

It is very important to understand and know that when you receive a refusal or cancellation letter it will state how many days you have to make an appeal for that decision. If you don’t do it on time you could lose the chance of your application being reviewed.

Can I stay in Australia while my application is being reviewed?

Yes, you would generally get a Bridging Visa which will have the carry the same conditions as your previous visa, i.e work or study rights. You will be able to stay in Australia for as long as it takes for the review application to be processed.

What are my options if my appeal fails at AAT?

If the outcome of AAT review is ‘Affirm’, then you have 2 options further:

Application to Federal Court: This is when you believe there has been a Legal Error in the decision by the department and AAT.

Application for Ministerial intervention: You can write a request to the minister for his personal discretion to grant you visa. You need to have a good reason or case for the minister to intervene in your case.