Had your visa cancelled or application refused? Considering making a request for Ministerial Intervention

What is Ministerial Intervention?

Ministerial Intervention involves the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship personally considering your situation and making a decision based on public interest matters, rather than criteria specifically found under the Migration Act. The Minister has the power to substitute a more favourable decision relating to your visa matter, if he believes it is in the public interest to do so.

It is important that you know the Minister is not obliged to consider your matter – it is a discretionary power. This means that the Minister may not look at your request at all. Your request will only be considered if you have unique or exceptional circumstances that mean it is in the public interest for the Minister to intervene.

Does the following apply to you?

You may be able to request an intervention by the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship if:

  • You hold a current bridging or substantive visa; and
  • You have applied for a visa and the Department of Immigration and Citizenship have refused your application or your visa has been cancelled; and
  • You have had the decision reviewed by the Migration Review Tribunal, Refugee Review Tribunal or Administrative Appeals Tribunal; and
  • There are unique or exceptional circumstances relating to your situation.

You will not be able to request Ministerial Intervention if you have not had your matter reviewed by the relevant Tribunal, or if you are awaiting an outcome from that Tribunal.

What are ‘unique or exceptional circumstances’?

There is no exhaustive list of ‘unique or exceptional circumstances’, however the following are some of the generally accepted circumstances where the Minister may intervene:

  • Strong compassionate circumstances which mean that an Australian citizen or permanent resident would suffer irreparable harm and continuing hardship if you were to leave the country;
  • Exceptional cultural, scientific, economic or other benefit to Australia;
  • Length of time you have been present in Australia and your level of integration into the Australian community; and/or
  • Circumstances that the legislation did not anticipate, or clearly unintended consequences of the legislation.

If any of the above apply to you, or you have other ‘unique or exceptional circumstances’, you may make a request for Ministerial Intervention.

How do I request Ministerial Intervention?

You can request Ministerial Intervention by making a written application, setting out your circumstances and why you should be able to remain in Australia legally. You should provide documentation supporting your claims.

What happens once I’ve made a request?

Your matter may not be considered by the Minister, if your request is found not show ‘unique or exceptional circumstances’. If it is considered by the Minister, he may request other character or health assessments to be carried out, or may require further documentation. He will then consider your matter and will make a decision either to substitute a more favourable decision (granting you a visa) or not. You will be advised of this outcome.

You should seek advice from a migration agent prior to making a request, as the Minister will generally only consider a request from you once. If a more favourable decision isn’t made by the Minister, you will need to leave Australia within 28 days if you no longer hold a substantive visa.

If you need more information, or need assistance with your request, feel free to contact our Migration Team.

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