intro to the administrative appeals tribunal

When you apply for any visa onshore or offshore, you always run the risk that the visa will be refused for some reason. If you believe that the refusal of your visa application is not justified or incorrect, then you are able to apply to reverse this decision through the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

Once the Department of Home Affairs has refused your visa application, you may apply for an appeal of that decision. The Administrative Appeals Tribunal hears all applications as an initial point of appeal.

About the process

In most circumstances, once your visa has been refused, you will have 21 days to apply for an appeal of that decision to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. The cost is standard and is noted in the current fee schedule for the AAT. Once the file has been acknowledged, it is placed in the queue for a hearing date and the matter will be pended, until such time as a Member has been appointed to hear the matter. The applicant can submit additional documents and submissions setting out the reasons why they believe that the visa should not have been refused in the first instance. The AAT can also request that additional documentation or comment be provided on a point prior to the hearing.

At most hearings, the applicant is interviewed directly and relevant facts and documents are noted. If the applicant has a representative, then the representative will sit as support but will not be allowed to answer on behalf of the applicant.

It is vital to lodge a well written submission on the matter, the reasons for refusal and the rebuttal of these reasons. Documentation to back up the rebuttal is also critical.

after The hearing

Following the hearing, the member will provide the applicant or their representative with a written decision either:

  • overturning the matter and remitting it back to the Department of Home Affairs for final processing, or
  • upholding the refusal and the applicant will need to look for avenues of further appeal if justified or they will need to make provision to leave Australia.

If the AAT uphold the refusal and the applicant is on a Bridging Visa for that appeal application, then the bridging visa will be allocated an end date, either 28 or 35 days from the date of the decision. It is critical that the applicant take steps to either leave the country or to lodge additional appeal processes or visa applications to ensure that they do not become unlawful.