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  • 15 Immigration Law
  • Decision Making
  • Review Rights – The Administrative Appeals Tribunal and the Migration Review Tribunal
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Review Rights – The Administrative Appeals Tribunal and the Migration Review Tribunal

A non-citizen may request a review of a decision where their visa is being cancelled or refused.

There are several administrative bodies that can review the visa decisions that includes, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT), the Migration Review Tribunal, the Federal Court of Australia, the Federal Circuit Court, and the High Court of Australia. In some circumstances, a person may appeal to the Commonwealth Ombudsman.

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) has jurisdiction to review some visa decisions which were made under the Migration Act 1958. In some cases, the Minister can overrule the decisions made by the AAT. The Minister may also make binding directions against the AAT. The Minister also has the discretion to personally cancel the visa of permanent residents who are being convicted of serious offences. In these situations, permanent residents lose their right of appeal to the AAT.

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) can only review the following migration decisions:

  • refusals and cancellations of visas on the grounds of ‘bad character’;
  • cancellation of business visas;
  • criminal deportation orders;
  • freedom of information decisions;
  • Australian citizenship decisions;
  • decisions forcing the repayment of income support payments made to people covered by an Assurance of Support (after these have first been reviewed by the Social Security Appeals Tribunal).

An application for review to the AAT must be made within 28 days from the time the applicant receives notice of the decision.

Migration Review Tribunal

There is no merits review available for decisions made under the overseas Refugee and Humanitarian program.  Applicants who are refused refugee status should assess the reasons for the decision and consider whether to re-apply with additional evidence to address the grounds of refusal.

The Refugee Review Tribunal (RRT) deals exclusively with refugee applications for review. It reviews refusal of on-shore refugee applicants only.  Applications for review must be lodged within 28 days of receiving the refusal.  The refusal letter is deemed to be received five working days after the date of the refusal letter.

RRT hearings follow very simple procedures and are conducted in an informal way.  After an initial explanation of what lies ahead, any outstanding procedural matters are dealt with.  The RRT then proceeds to question the applicant and any witnesses.  Opportunities are provided for witnesses to discuss matters about which they had been questioned.

The RRT will also allow applicants to submit additional written evidence after the hearing has concluded.

The Migration Review Tribunal (MRT) also assesses visa and visa-related applications. The name is less controversial than the RRT and is concerned with all other aspects of the migration review outside the Refugee and Humanitarian Program.

Page last updated 20/09/2021

Previous Section Review Rights – Federal Courts, High Court and the Commonwealth Ombudsman