AAT: Review of Migration Decisions

Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT): Review of Migration Decisions

The Department of Home Affairs (Department), through the Minister of Immigration and his delegates, make decisions on your visas and visa applications (visa decision) under the Migration Act 1958 and the Migration Regulations 1994.

If you are not happy with a visa decision made in relation to you then you may be able to get that decision reviewed by the AAT.

The AAT can review only certain decisions. For instance, the AAT cannot review a decision to cancel a visa made personally by the Minister of Immigration.

The types of decisions that the AAT can review includes decisions to refuse or cancel a visa, to refuse to approve a nomination of an occupation or to refuse to approve a sponsor.

The visa decision will tell you if the AAT can review the decision and if you are a person who can apply for a review. You can apply for an AAT review online.

It is critical to remember that there are time limits within which you must lodge a review application. The time limits are strict and varies depending on the type of decision. You must read the visa decision carefully as it will tell you the time limit within which a review application can be lodged with the AAT.

The AAT has no power to extend the time limit to lodge an application for review.

You must pay an application fee when you lodge your review application. You can apply to pay a reduced fee by filing a Form M11.

Once the AAT accepts your review application, the AAT will usually invite you to a hearing. It is critical that you respond to all pre-hearing correspondences that you receive from the AAT. At the hearing, you can present information and arguments to the AAT about the decision under review.

The hearing is informal, and a Tribunal Member conducts the hearing.

You must inform the AAT If you would like a migration agent, lawyer, or other person to attend the hearing. You must also inform the AAT of any witnesses that you have asked to give evidence.

If you do not attend the hearing the AAT might dismiss the application or decide without you.

If the AAT dismissed the review because you did not attend the hearing you can ask to reinstate the review. You must make the request to reinstate in writing within 14 days after the AAT informed you of the dismissal. If the review is not reinstated, the Department decision remains unchanged.

If you hold a bridging visa (associated with the visa application under review), your bridging visa will cease either:

  • 35 days after the AAT decision is made (if your bridging visa was granted on or after 19 November 2016), or
  • 28 days after you are notified of the AAT decision (if your bridging visa was granted prior to 19 November 2016).

The AAT can make the following decisions:

  • Affirm the decision: the decision is not changed
  • Vary the decision: the decision is changed
  • Set aside the decision and substitute a new decision: the decision is replaced with a new decision
  • Remit the decision: the matter is sent back to the Department to make a new decision.
  • No jurisdiction to review the decision: The AAT cannot undertake a review because it is not a valid application
  • Confirm the decision to dismiss the application because you did not attend the hearing: the decision is not changed.