Visa Refusal & Cancellation Appeals

The role of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) is to reconsider decisions made by the Australian government. The Migration and Refugee Division (MRD) of the AAT reviews decisions by the Department of Home Affairs.

The AAT is able to consider a wide range of visa-related decisions, including refusals and cancellations. AAT decisions are based on the merits of each particular case.

The AAT has the power to take any of the following actions:

  • affirm the decision.
  • vary the decision.
  • substitute the decision with a new decision.
  • return the matter to the Department of Home Affairs for reconsideration.

AAT Review Application Lodgement

The letter explaining the decision to refuse or cancel your visa will refer to the time frame within which you must lodge your review application.

Your application for review must be lodged with the AAT within the required time frame. In most cases, this will be 21 days from the date of a decision to refuse a visa application, and 7 days from the date of a decision to cancel a visa.

It is essential that you book an appointment to discuss your visa refusal or cancellation decision as soon as possible. The AAT will not accept late applications under any circumstances. If you do not lodge the appeal for your visa refusal or cancellation in time, the AAT will be unable to review the decision.

Awaiting AAT Review/Lodgement of Written Submissions

Once your application has been lodged, the AAT will confirm the lodgement date in writing, and your application will enter the queue of applications awaiting review. The time that it takes the AAT to complete a review varies. Processing times are dependent on a number of factors, including the type of application under review as well as AAT processing priorities.

You may receive priority processing for your hearing if you:

  • are in detention.
  • have a serious medical condition.
  • are experiencing serious financial hardship.
  • are a child separated from a parent or caregiver.

Bridging Visas

You may qualify for a bridging visa upon lodgement of your review application. This would enable you to remain lawfully in Australia whilst you await the outcome of your application. Your bridging visa will be dependent on your circumstances at the time that you lodged the visa application under review.

AAT Review & Hearing Attendance

When your case is due to be considered by the AAT, you will be given the opportunity to provide further information and documents in support of the grounds for your application.

The AAT will review all relevant written information and documents that you have provided, along with any relevant information provided by the Department of Home Affairs. The AAT will either make a decision based on these written materials or schedule a date for a hearing.

If a hearing is scheduled, you will be given the opportunity to present information regarding your case and respond to any questions that the AAT may have regarding your review application. We will represent you at the hearing, make oral submissions in support of your application and help you to answer the AAT’s questions. The AAT will then make its decision following the hearing. This may take several weeks, depending upon the material that the AAT must consider, and the complexity of your case.

Successful Visa Appeals

Page 4 of the AAT Caseload Report for the Financial Year to 30 June 2020 confirms that 30 percent of migration decisions are set aside. This means that 70 percent of the decisions made by the Department of Home Affairs to refuse or cancel visas are viewed as technically correct by the AAT.

Unsuccessful Appeals

If your review is unsuccessful then you will be given 28 days to make arrangements to leave Australia. In most cases, the Bridging Visa you were granted will expire 35 days from the date you are notified of the AAT’s decision.

If you do not want to leave Australia, you may be able to request Ministerial Intervention. The Minister for Immigration has the discretion to intervene and substitute a new decision in your case. Ministerial Intervention is difficult and will only succeed in limited circumstances where strict requirements are met. You should seek immigration assistance immediately if you are considering Ministerial Intervention.

Will Your Appeal Succeed?

In order to advise on your prospects of success, we must first review the reason(s) for the refusal or cancellation of your visa. We cannot provide accurate immigration assistance unless we have completed a review of the decision for the refusal or cancellation of your visa.

Please book an appointment if you would like to discuss your matter with a Registered Migration Agent.