When a visa is refused, it’s human nature to let panic set in. While can be distressing, it’s important to remember there are options available to you; one of which is appealing the visa refusal with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, provided you are onshore when the visa is refused.
What is the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT)?
The Administrative Appeals Tribunal conducts independent reviews of administrative decisions made under Commonwealth laws. The AAT reviews decisions made by Australian Government ministers, departments and agencies and in rare cases, decisions made by state government and non-government bodies.
The AAT can only review a decision if a law states that the decision can be reviewed by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. They can review decisions made under more than 400 Commonwealth Acts and legislative instruments.
The most common decisions the AAT reviews relate to:
- Child support
- Commonwealth workers compensation
- Family assistance, paid parental leave, social security and student assistance
- Migration and refugee visa and visa-related decisions
- Veteran’s entitlements
- Australian citizenship
- Civil aviation
- Corporations and financial services regulation
- Freedom of information
- National Disability Insurance Scheme
- Security assessments by the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation
The AAT reviews decisions by taking a fresh look at the relevant facts, laws and policies to determine their own decision. They will make the legally correct decision, or where there can be more than one correct decision, they will choose the preferable decision.
The Administration Appeals Tribunal has the power to:
- Agree with the previous decision
- Change a decision
- Set aside a decision and substitute a new decision or remit a decision to the decision-maker for reconsideration.
The AAT aims to provide a review process that is accessible, fair and just, while being economical, informal and quick.
The review process varies depending on the type of decision being reviewed.
When appealing a visa refusal the following steps should be taken:
- Understand why your visa was refused
- Gather any information that may have been missing from your first application
- Ensure you are eligible for the visa you are applying for
Appeal applications can be made online to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. Once the application has been lodged, you will receive a confirmation letter explaining what happens next.
Not all decisions can be appealed. The decision letter you receive from the Department of Home Affairs will advise whether the decision can be reviewed. The AAT cannot review a decision if you are not entitled to apply for a review or if your visa has been cancelled personally by the Minister for Home Affairs.
Strict time limits apply when appealing a visa refusal decision and will depend on the type of decision being appealed. The refusal letter you receive from the Department of Home Affairs will advise the time limit. If the time limit expires, the AAT has no power to extend the deadline.
It is recommended that you seek the assistance of a registered migration agent such as Visa Solutions Australia. A registered migration agent will ensure the appeals process runs smoothly and assist you with any subsequent visa applications.
If you would like to learn more about appealing visa decisions, contact Visa Solutions Australia on 1800 828 008.