AAT Appeal Process Demystified

SJ Legals are experts at the AAT Appeal Process  

The AAT appeal process is daunting and can be confusing to those who aren’t familiar with the Australian legal and immigration system. SJ Legals are experts at providing advice and representation for all migration and visa related legal issues. SJ Legals pay particular attention to the AAT appeal process. We represent many clients across the whole AAT appeal process. If you have had your visa refused or cancelled and think that you may have recourse to appeal with the AAT, SJ Legals can assist you. This article discusses the basic AAT appeal process.

What is the AAT?

The AAT provides independent merits review of a wide range of administrative decisions made by the Australian Government. The AAT can review decisions made under Commonwealth and Norfolk Island laws. The AAT aims to make our review process accessible, fair, just, economical, informal and quick.

AAT Tribunal Decisions

The AAT can review a wide range of decisions made by government ministers, departments and agencies under Commonwealth laws, most of which will be made by way of AAT tribunal decisions, such as:

  1. Centrelink;
  2. Citizenship; and
  3. Migration and refugee.

The AAT can review some, but not all, decisions about visas made under the Migration Act 1958 by the Department of Home Affairs, the Minister for Home Affairs or the Minister for Immigration.

Who can apply for review?

The decision letter sent  to you by the department of immigration should explain whether their decision can be reviewed by the AAT and if you can apply for a review. The AAT can only accept an application for review made by a person who has the right to apply for review.

Time limits for making your application for review

The decision letter sent by the department of immigration should state the time limit that applies to making your application to the AAT.

How to apply

To apply for review, you must complete and lodge an ‘Application for Review’ form and pay the application fee (or 50% of the application fee together with an application for fee reduction) with the AAT, within the time limit.

Pre-hearing

The next step in the AAT review process is allocation to a Member who will decide how to proceed. The Member is the person who will make a decision about your review.

Before the hearing the AAT might:

  • ask you to provide further information;
  • invite you to comment on any information that may be relevant;
  • invite you to nominate other persons who could give evidence or suggest other relevant evidence or materials.

The AAT may make a decision without inviting you to a hearing if the case can be decided in your favour based on the information that you have already provided.

What is a hearing?

The next step in the AAT review process is a hearing. The hearing is an opportunity for you to present information and arguments to the AAT about the decision under review.

The AAT will invite you to attend a hearing unless:

  • the case can be decided in your favour based on the information the AAT already have;
  • you do not respond to a request to give the AAT information or comments by the date it’s requested; or
  • you agree not to have a hearing.

AAT Processing Time 2019

The AAT processing time 2019 depends on a range of factors, including the number of applications for review the AAT receives, the number of members available to conduct reviews, the type of decision under review, the strategies the AAT have in place for dealing with different caseloads, and the complexity of the review. Applications for reviews in the Migration and Refugee Division have more than doubled in recent years. This has had an impact on the time it takes the AAT to complete reviews.

The following table sets out the average times it took the AAT to finalise reviews in a recent six month period.

Average times for finalising reviews between 01/03/19 and 31/08/19

  • Bridging – 10 Days days
  • Family – 474 days
  • Nomination/Sponsor approval – 574 days
  • Partner – 603 days
  • Permanent business – 473 days
  • Skill linked – 209 days
  • Student cancellation – 520 days
  • Student refusal – 568 days
  • Temporary work – 485 days
  • Visitor – 440 days
  • Other – 303 days
  • Total for migration case categories – 531 days

If you require more information about the AAT review process, we suggest visiting the AAT website or getting in touch with us directly. SJ Legals are experts at providing advice and representation for all migration and visa related legal issues. SJ Legals pay particular attention to the AAT appeal process. We represent many clients across the whole AAT appeal process. If you have had your visa refused or cancelled and think that you may have recourse to appeal with the AAT, SJ Legals can assist you, so get in touch today.

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