Administrative Appeals Tribunal
Visa Cancellation & Refusal
What if my visa application is refused or my visa is cancelled?
Visa refusal or cancellation does not mean that your immigration dream has come to an end. You might be able to have the decision reviewed by a merits review tribunal, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT), commonly called MRT. Visa Refusals and Cancellations can now be reviewed by Migration and Refugee Division (MRD or MR Division) of AAT, and previously they were reviewed by Migration Review Tribunal.
Quick action is essential to address visa refusals or cancellations.
Your application for review MUST be lodged with the AAT within the required time frame. In most cases, this will be 21 days from the date of a decision to refuse a visa application, and 7 days from the date of a decision to cancel a visa. As such it is critical that you notify us of the DOHA’s decision as soon as possible, to allow us sufficient time to prepare and lodge your review application within the required time frame.
AAT REVIEW APPLICATIONS
The AAT is able to consider a wide range of visa-related decisions, including refusals and cancellations. AAT decisions are based on the merits of each particular case.
The AAT has the power to take the following actions:
affirm (not change) the DOHA’s decision
vary the decision
set aside the decision, and substitute it with a new decision
return the matter to the DOHA for reconsideration with specific directions.
Section 48 BAR
The limitation on making new applications is called the Section 48 bar. When you are refused a substantive visa or your visa is cancelled, and you do not hold a substantive visa, you will not be able to apply for a new substantive visa, while in Australia. There is only a short list of visas that you can apply for while you stay inside Australia. Your only other options are to leave Australia to apply for a new visa offshore, or to apply for a waiver of the Section 48 bar when applying for a new visa onshore.
It is advised to take action as soon as possible after any visa refusal or visa cancellation to avoid problems with a Section 48 bar or a potential Section 48 bar in the cheapest and most effective way. If you know your visa has been cancelled or your visa application has been refused since you last entered Australia, contact us as soon as possible and you may be able to prevent Section 48 problems.
AAT Review Application Lodgement
The letter that you receive from the DOHA regarding the decision to refuse or cancel your visa will refer to the exact time frame within which you must lodge your review application. Your application for review MUST be lodged with the AAT within the required time frame. In most cases, this will be 21 days from the date of a decision to refuse a visa application, and 7 days from the date of a decision to cancel a visa. As such it is critical that you notify us of the DOHA’s decision as soon as possible, to allow us sufficient time to prepare and lodge your review application within the required time frame.
NOTE: The AAT will not accept late applications under any circumstances. This means that if you do not lodge your application within the relevant time frame, the AAT will not be able to review the DOHA’s decision to refuse or cancel your visa, and you will have no other recourse to request a review of this decision.
Awaiting AAT Review/Lodgement of Written Submissions
Once your application has been lodged, the AAT will confirm the lodgement date in writing, and your application will enter the queue of applications awaiting review. The time that it takes the AAT to review an application (and to schedule a hearing, if required) is dependent upon the type of application, as well as AAT processing priorities. In some cases, it may take more than 12 months for the AAT to review an application and schedule a hearing. However other applications may be assessed quite quickly. Please contact us if you would like further information regarding likely timeframes for the review of your application.
Whilst your application is awaiting review, we will ask you to provide information and documents in support of the grounds for your application i.e. any evidence that supports your reasons for applying for a review of the DOHA’s decision. We will then prepare written submissions in support of your application, and lodge these with the AAT for consideration.
You MAY qualify for a bridging visa upon lodgement of your review application. This would enable you to remain lawfully in Australia whilst you await the outcome of your application. The type of bridging visa that you qualify for (if any), along with the conditions of that visa, will generally depend upon your circumstances at the time that you lodged the visa application that is under review.
AAT Review & Hearing Attendance
When your case is due to be considered by the AAT, you will be given the opportunity to provide further information and documents in support of the grounds for your application.The AAT will review all relevant written information and documents that you have provided, along with any relevant information provided by the DOHA. It will then either make a decision based on these written materials, or schedule a date for a hearing. If a hearing is scheduled: You will be given the opportunity to present information regarding your case in person, and answer any questions that the AAT may have regarding your review application. We will represent you at the hearing, make oral submissions in support of your application and help you to answer the AAT’s questions. The AAT will then make its decision following the hearing. This may take several weeks, depending upon the material that the AAT must consider, and the complexity of your case.