Immigration Law

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Can I appeal to the AAT?

Administrative Appeals Tribunal

Visa refusal is not the end.
AAT makes a grant letter possible!

Frequently Asked Questions

AAT is also known as the “Administrative Appeals Tribunal”. AAT gives you another chance to present your case. The tribunal member will take a fresh look at all the relevant facts and evidence of your application and make their own decision.

The time it takes for AAT to complete the review process depends on various factors, including:

  • The number of applications for review AAT received
  • The numbers of AAT members available to conduct reviews
  • The type of decision under review
  • The complexity of the review

The latest average times for finalising AAT review of different visa subclasses can be found here.

You can find statistical information about the Tribunal’s work, including information about the number of applications received, finalised, and on hand here.

There are 3 stages in AAT appeal:

1. Lodge your AAT application within the timeframe

You must lodge your AAT application within the timeframe as stated in your decision letter. As time limits are strict, you may lose your review rights if time limit has passed.

For onshore applications, the applicant will be granted an extension of Bridging Visa. This allows the applicant to legally stay in Australia while waiting for the result from AAT.

During this time, you may be asked by the tribunal to give further information or comment on any information that the tribunal consider would be necessary.

The tribunal might make a decision without inviting you to a hearing if the case can be decided in your favour based on the information the tribunal has.

2. Preparing for AAT hearing

At this point, you should prepare an up to date copy of all supporting documents. If you are represented by an immigration lawyer, they will complete the legal submission for you.

This legal submission is critical as it gives you the chance to specify the reason(s) why your visa application should not be refused or cancelled, explain your personal circumstances and indicate how you have fulfilled the criteria required for your visa application.

3. Attend the hearing

At the hearing, you will have an opportunity to:

  • give evidence and present arguments
  • explain why you disagree with the decision under review and
  • Answer any questions that the Member asks (Do I have to attend the hearing?)

Generally, you will receive the decision at the end of the hearing or in writing at a later date.

If you do not attend a hearing, the tribunal might dismiss the application or make a decision without you.

Our qualified and experienced immigration lawyers at Ascent Lawyers can assist you in AAT application. Prior to the hearing, we will arrange a meeting with you to explain the process of hearing and answer any of your queries.

Please note the following points:

  • Generally, it is expected that you attend the AAT hearing in person. If any circumstances prevent you from attending the hearing, you may attend the hearing by phone or video call. Most AAT hearings are now conducted via phone or MS Teams during the COVID-19 period.
  • Apart from yourself, the AAT member and an AAT staff member will appear in the hearing. If you wish to attend with your lawyer, supporting person or witness, you are required to inform the AAT prior to the hearing.
  • You can apply to have an interpreter presented.
  • The hearing can last from 1 to 4 hours, depending on the complexity of your application, the number of issues to be dealt with in your application and the number of witness present in your case.

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: we 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.
  • If AAT set aside the decision under review and substitute a decision that your visa be granted, your bridging visa will cease.
  • If AAT remit the decision under review back to the department for reconsideration, your bridging visa will remain in effect while your application is being processed by the department.
  • If AAT affirm the decision under review, deciding that the delegate’s decision should not be changed, or decide AAT have no jurisdiction to review a decision, your bridging visa will cease either;
    • 35 days after the decision is made (if your bridging visa was granted on or after 19 November 2016); or
    • 28 days after you are notified of AAT’s decision (if your bridging visa was granted prior to 19 November 2016).

If you want to travel overseas, you must contact AAT before making any travel arrangement to check the status of your review.

AAT appeal is expensive, extensive and complicated. It can be challenging for people without any legal background to prepare for the hearing on their own. Any mistake, such as statement inconsistency or insufficient supporting evidence, may lead to the failure of your AAT appeal. Lawyers have received systematic legal training. They can prepare legal submissions which suit the AAT members better.

Experienced immigration lawyers at Ascent Lawyers can provide you with clear guidance throughout the process, ensure that quality documents are prepared to boost and increase your chances in obtaining your visa.

Learn more:
Immigration Lawyers vs Migration Agents

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