AAT & Appeal for Migration & Refugee Division

Upright Migration Consultants

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) conducts independent reviews of administrative decisions made under Commonwealth laws. The AAT reviews decisions made by Australian Government ministers, departments and agencies prior to them going to Court.

The AAT commenced operations in July 1976. In July 2015 the AAT amalgamated with the Migration Review Tribunal, Refugee Review Tribunal and Social Security Appeals Tribunal. The Administrative Appeals Tribunal falls under the portfolio of the Attorney General.

1. Move-in together and gather documentation to show you are living at the same address

Sign the lease, get a letter from the landlord, get correspondence sent to the address (utilities, bank docs, ATO, drivers license etc.) Any form of documentation that can place you at the same location. You do not need to be on the lease.

What is the process for an appeal in the AAT (Migration and Refugee Division)?

The general process of an AAT appeal in the Migration and Refugee Division is as follows:

1. Lodge your appeal application to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal

It is very important to do lodge your application within the provided time frame, which can be as little as 2 days. The best way to lodge your application is online.

When applying for an immigration appeal be sure to upload the required supporting documents needed to immediately begin the appeal process. This is normally the email or letter notifying you of the refusal or cancellation of your visa and a copy of the decision. You will be allowed to provide further documents to the AAT at a later stage.

You should also pay the fee if required. Some AAT appeals are free or you may be eligible for a reduced fee.

2. The AAT will then send you a confirmation of application letter

3. You should start preparing your appeal case

We recommend that you carefully read the Department of Home Affairs decision and the reasons your application was unsuccessful. The best strategy for case will depend on your individual circumstances. Often it will involve:

  • - Preparing a statement outlining your explanation of different aspects of your case
  • - Obtaining supporting evidence such as medical reports or letters of support
  • - Identify people who could be witnesses to support different aspects of your case
  • - Doing legal research to explain why your case should win at the AAT

4. The AAT will send you a hearing invitation letter.

Prior to the hearing the AAT may also ask you for further information or certain documents to help complete their assessment of your appeal. Even if the AAT does not request it, we generally recommend you provide the AAT with updated information and documents explaining why the Department of Home Affairs made the wrong decision in your case.

In some cases the extra information or documents you provide may mean a hearing is no longer required and a positive decision is made on your case. However, this is quite uncommon.

When you receive the hearing invitation letter you should complete it and return to the AAT. This generally requires you to confirm if you need an interpreter for the hearing and to include the details of any witnesses you may plan to bring.

5. You attend your AAT hearing with your witnesses and migration lawyer (if you are represented).

The AAT hearing is an important opportunity to explain your circumstances in person and to answer any questions the Tribunal member may have. The AAT will provide you with an interpreter if you need one. You can bring witnesses to the hearing to provide evidence as well. You should tell the AAT in advance if you plan to bring witnesses with you.

Your migration lawyer may also provide legal arguments at the of the hearing in support of your case.

6. The AAT may ask for more information or documents

In some cases the AAT will ask for further information after the hearing based on issues that were raised. This may include medical reports, letters of support or other documents.

7. The AAT makes a decision in your case.

When assessing your case, the AAT will undertake a review of all of the facts of your matter, including new information and the reasons behind the original decision. In some cases, a decision may be given on the spot at the hearing but generally you will receive this after the hearing. It can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 years to receive an AAT decision.

If the AAT makes a decision in your favour, generally speaking, the matter will be remitted back the Department of Home affairs where they will typically either revoke the visa cancellation or grant the refused visa.

If your immigration appeal is unsuccessful you may be able to further appeal the matter to the Federal Circuit Court or Federal Court of Australia.



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  • Upright Migration Consultants

    Suite 4, Level 5, 342 Flinders St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia