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Appealing the Department of Home Affairs’ decision to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal

The decision of the Department of Home Affairs (‘the Department’) to cancel your visa or refuse your visa application, business sponsorship or nomination application is not always the end of the migration process. It may be possible to appeal the Department’s decision to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (‘AAT’).

The AAT is a tribunal that conducts independent merits review of administrative decisions including migration and refugee decisions of the Department. In addition, the AAT has the authority to affirm the Department’s decision, vary the Department’s decision, set aside the Department’s decision and substitute with a new decision, or remit your matter to the Department for reconsideration.

When to apply for review to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal?

There are very strict time limits on when you can apply for a review of the Department’s decision to the AAT. In most cases, an applicant will have 21 days from the date of the Department’s decision to refuse the application or 7 days from the date of the Department’s decision to cancel your visa.

As outlined in section 29(1)(c) of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975, an application to the AAT for a review of a decision shall be lodged with the Tribunal within the prescribed period after the decision was made. Additionally, the AAT has no power to extend the time limit to lodge an application for review. This is why it is very critical to submit your appeal within the prescribed time limit.

What to provide after applying for review to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal?

When the AAT acknowledges your application for appeal, you will have the opportunity to provide any submissions or evidence to the AAT for their consideration. The AAT then reviews your submissions or evidence together with all of the documents, forms and interview records held by the Department.

Is there a hearing at the AAT?

There are rare circumstances that the AAT will not require a hearing on your appeal. This occurs when the Tribunal Member is able to make a decision just based on the documents and evidence that you have submitted to the AAT.

In contrast, the AAT will advise you of your hearing date once the relevant Tribunal Member has been assigned to your appeal. The period of waiting for the AAT’s advice of your hearing date may take over a year as the ‘average waiting time for a hearing’ varies depending on the type of your migration matter and the AAT processing priorities.

What to do next?

If your visa is cancelled or your visa application is refused and you have rights for review, we encourage you to take immediate action if you wish to appeal the decision.

Contact our team of immigration lawyers who can assist you with your visa appeal.