Visa Cancellation, Refusals – Appeals


In many circumstances where a visa is refused or cancelled, applicants are afforded the opportunity to lodge an appeal of the Department of Border Protection (DIBP) decision.

On 1 July 2015, the Migration Review Tribunal (MRT) and the Refugee Review Tribunal (RRT) merged with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). The AAT now serves as the single body responsible for hearing migration appeals.

Lodging an appeal

The visa cancellation or refusal notice will indicate whether a decision is reviewable and the timeframe in which the appeal needs to be made with the AAT, which is typically 28 days from the date the decision was made. The AAT has the authority to reconsider the case within the same legislative framework as the primary decision maker at DIBP, and can substitute a new decision, vary the decision, remit the matter to DBP again or affirm the decision of the primary decision make at DIBP.

The AAT have the power to hand down a decision based on paperwork provided, or by setting a hearing date to receive submissions orally in person. The method that they will employ to gather the information required to make a decision will depend on the nature of the case and the merits of the application.

Alternatives to an appeal

After reviewing the situation, in some scenarios, it may become apparent that the issue would be better resolved by lodging a further application rather than making a formal appeal, so it is important that advice is sought in a timely manner after receiving a visa refusal or cancellation notice.

Further, in some cases, the prospects of success may be extremely low, in which case applicants may need to consider abandoning the plan to appeal and instead depart Australia. It is therefore strongly encouraged that professional advice be sought so that you can weigh your options and make a considered, informed decision.