In the financial year 2021-22 (up to 31 May 2022) approx. 56,517 review applications were lodged with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). Out of these approximately 19,809 review applications were for migration (visa application) decisions and approximately 36,708 for refugee (protection visa) decisions. For all these applications, the AAT is an opportunity for the applicant to submit any relevant and new evidence for the AAT’s consideration as to whether to ‘set aside’ the refusal decision or ‘affirm’ the same. If the AAT affirms (upholds) the original decision, the courts will only consider an error of law in the decision. It therefore becomes extremely important for the applicant to win their case at the AAT for them to be able to be granted the visa.
Winning at the AAT is all about preparation. Here are a few tips on how to approach the AAT.
- Lodge your application in time – Remember you have only 21 calendar days from the date of the decision to be able to make a valid review application with the AAT. So it is recommended that you lodge the review application early and well ahead of time.
- Read and understand the reasons for the visa refusal – It is critically important that the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) delegate’s ‘Decision Record’ is read carefully so that you understand the reasons for visa refusal. This will help you in preparing and submitting additional submissions for consideration by the AAT and also presenting the same during any hearing that may be scheduled. Always remember, the AAT reconsiders the complete application and hence do not just prepare for the reasons for refusal but be ready to argue the complete application and how you ‘the applicant’ satisfies all the regulatory requirements.
- Submit additional evidence before the hearing – The AAT will ask you to submit additional evidence in support of your application. Make sure that you submit all the evidence within any time limits provided to give the Tribunal an opportunity to review the evidence before the hearing. Only in exceptional circumstances should evidence be presented to the AAT shortly before the hearing date or at the time of the hearing. In case you have strong evidence and the AAT agrees with your point of view, the AAT may give its decision without a hearing and remit the case to the DHA.
- Present yourself at the hearing – It is important to appear at the hearing is one is scheduled. One should plan to reach the AAT at least 30 minutes before time and be properly attired. Formal clothing is appropriate. More often than not the AAT would like to hear the complete details from the applicant so it is important to prepare well for the hearing. The applicant should be ready to answer all the questions asked by the Tribunal. The applicant must be aware of all the details of their case, including if dates and times of relevant events.
As mentioned in the paragraph above, out of the applications considered by the AAT approximately 40% were ‘remitted’ to the DHA for reconsideration whereas approximately 36% were ‘affirmed’ (meaning the original decision was upheld). It may be possible that some of the applications out of the 36% could have been remitted had the applicants followed the tips mentioned above and obtained advice and assistance from properly qualified and experienced immigration lawyers.
If you have any questions about any type of visas please feel free to contact Nevett Ford Lawyers:
Nevett Ford Lawyers Melbourne
Telephone: +61 3 9614 7111
Visit our website: www.nevettford.com.au