Ministerial intervention – What are they?

A Ministerial intervention in migration matters is often misunderstood.

What is Ministerial intervention and how does it work?

Ministerial intervention is governed by sections 351, 417 and 501J of the Migration Act 1958 (Act)

The Minister has powers under the Act to replace a decision of a merits review tribunal on a person’s case with a decision that is more favourable to that person if the Minister thinks it is in the public interest to do so.

It is important to remember that Ministerial intervention is not part of the visa process and very few requests are successful. In fact, very few requests actually get to the Minister to determine. If the request does not meet the Ministers guidelines, then it will not be referred by his Department to him.

It is important throughout the process you must ensure you have a valid visa whish allows you to remain in Australia whilst the request is being processed.

The Minister’s guidelines describe the types of cases that might be referred for the Minister’s consideration.

The Minister has described the types of unique or exceptional circumstances in which a case might be referred for the Minister’s consideration. For example:

  • Strong compassionate circumstances that if not recognised would result in serious, ongoing and irreversible harm and continuing hardship to an Australian citizen or an Australian family unit, where at least one member of the family is an Australian citizen or Australian permanent resident.
  • Compassionate circumstances regarding your age and/or health and/or psychological state, that if not recognised would result in serious, ongoing and irreversible harm and continuing hardship.
  • Exceptional economic, scientific, cultural or other benefit that would result from you being permitted to remain in Australia.
  • Circumstances not anticipated by relevant legislation; or clearly unintended consequences of legislation; or the application of relevant legislation leads to unfair or unreasonable results in your case.
  • You cannot be returned to your country/countries of citizenship or usual residence due to circumstances outside your control.

The Minister’s will not consider a request in the following circumstances:

  • There is no review decision by a merits review tribunal
  • A Minister has already intervened to grant a visa
  • A tribunal has found that it does not have jurisdiction to review a decision
  • A tribunal has found that the review application was made outside the time limits
  • A tribunal has returned your case to us for further consideration and one of our decision-makers has made a subsequent decision on your case

Further details of the types of requests the Minister considered inappropriate to consider can be found here.

Making a request for Ministerial intervention should not be done lightly.  It requires often significant and complex documentation to be drafted. Our immigration experts have many years of experience in drafting these requests.

Contact our team of Registered Migration Agents and Immigration Lawyers that can assist you with your Ministerial intervention.

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