In most cases the Administrative Appeals Tribunal is the first available review avenue. In some cases appeal directly to the Federal Court is available but this is unusual. If you are seeking to have the Minister Intervene in your matter you must first have the matter reviewed in the A.A.T. (Migration Division)
There are a number of reasons to recommend a review of a visa refusal by the tribunal. The tribunal is an independent body which is designed to be fair, economical and quick. It employs an inquisitorial method of deciding applications where the tribunal member is able to take an active role in determining whether a decision to refuse a visa was correctly made. The tribunal is not bound by formal rules of evidence or legal technicalities and importantly, it acts according to substantial justice and the merits of the case. If the tribunal decides that a decision to refuse a visa was incorrect, it has the power to set the decision aside and to grant the visa application. This is relatively rare, however, and in most cases where a decision to refuse a visa was found to be incorrect the MRT will simply set aside the decision and remit the decision back to the DIAC for reconsideration.
Decisions reviewable by the tribunal include:
- If a visa application has been refused;
- The cancellation of a visa where the visa holder was in Australia;
- Refusal to revoke the cancellation of a visa if the person is in Australia;
- A determination on the points test for skilled migration visas, business sponsorships and nominations; and
- A determination on security bonds for bridging visas.
It is important to note that there are strict time limits for making applications to the tribunal. The time limit will depend on the decision which is being challenged but for all decisions these time limits are relatively short. Generally a Bridging Visa will be available to you whilst you await your matter to be heard before the tribunal. Currently the average wait time for a hearing can be in excess of 12 months.
This article contains information about the Review Tribunals. The information in this article is intended as introductory information only and is no substitute for legal advice. If you have a migration matter or are after legal advice on how to contest a visa refusal please contact Hunt Migration.