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Overview  

When your Australian Visa or Nomination application has been refused or denied, you may have the option to apply for an Administrative Appeal Tribunal (AAT) merits review. This must be done within the specified timeframe if you think the Department of Home Affairs’ decision is incorrect and you can provide supporting documents to make your claims to an AAT. 

A merits review means your application will be reassessed by a different person. Your whole case is considered again, new evidence is allowed and changed circumstances may be taken into account. 

What kinds of visa related decisions that AAT can review?     

AAT can review the decisions relating to the below issues:  

  • Decisions to refuse/cancel different types of visa,  
  • Decisions to refuse a nomination of an occupation or position,  
  • Decisions to refuse/bar/cancel the approval of a sponsor, 
  • Decisions relating to requiring a security.  

AAT is unable to review:  

  • Every single decision to refuse/cancel a visa from Department of Home Affairs 
  • The decision to cancel a visa that is made personally by the Minister of Immigration or Minister of Home Affairs 
  • The decisions where you are not entitled for an AAT review,  
  • The decision to refuse a protection visa reviewed by the Immigration Assessment Authority.  

How do I know if I can apply for an AAT merits review for my visa or nomination refusal? 

The fastest or easiest way to know is to check the Refusal Decision letter from the Department of Home Affairs. This will specify if your visa refusal decision can be reviewed or not. If it can, the letter will tell you the timeframe you have to apply. 

Generally speaking, the timeframe will be between 2 – 70 days depending on which type of visa or nomination you have applied for. 

How much do I need to pay for the AAT application fee?     

For most reviews of migration decisions, the AAT application fee is AUD3,374. 

For reviews of refugee-related decisions, you are not charged with the application fee at the time of application lodgement. However, if your application is not successful, then you have to pay an application fee of AUD2,076.  

For reviews of character-related decisions, the AAT application fee is AUD1,082. 

How to lodge an AAT application 

The best way to lodge an AAT application is through online at https://online.aat.gov.au/  

However, you can also apply for a AAT review via post or by fax to:  

Administrative Appeals Tribunal
GPO Box 9955, Sydney NSW 2001
Fax: (02) 9276 5599 
Administrative Appeals Tribunal
GPO Box 9955, Melbourne VIC 3001
Fax: (03) 9454 6999 
Administrative Appeals Tribunal
GPO Box 9955, Brisbane QLD 4001
Fax: (07) 3052 3069 Administrative Appeals Tribunal
GPO Box 9955, Perth WA 6848
Fax: (08) 6222 7299 
Administrative Appeals Tribunal
GPO Box 9955, Adelaide SA 5001
Fax: (08) 8128 8099  

If you prefer to submit by hand, you can come in to one of the following AAT offices:   

Sydney
Level 6
83 Clarence Street
Sydney NSW 2000 Brisbane
Level 6
295 Ann Street
Brisbane QLD 4000 
Melbourne
Level 4
15 William Street
Melbourne VIC 3000 Perth
Level 13
111 St Georges Terrace
Perth WA 6000 
Adelaide
Level 2
1 King William Street
Adelaide SA 5000 
 

How to check AAT application status     

You can check the status of your AAT applications by lodging into your AAT account. There is all information you need, for example when your application is lodged, whether or not your application is sent to case officer for reassessment and so on. 

What decisions might I receive from an AAT merits review?

After your application is assessed, you can receive the following decision from AAT:  

  • Affirmed (Department’s decision is upheld) 
  • Set aside and varied (eg. amount of security bond reduced) 
  • Remitted (eg. returned with direction to department to process visa) or 
  • Set aside and substituted with a new decision (no cancellation). 

How can I receive a refund from the AAT? 

The AAT offers refunds under below circumstances:  

  • If your application is deemed invalid, the AAT will refund the entire application fee you paid. 
  • If you initially paid the full fee and the AAT approves a reduced fee, they will refund 50% of the full application fee. 

If the review is decided in your favour, the AAT will refund: 

  • 50% of the reduced fee amount; or 
  • 50% of the full fee if you initially paid the full amount. 

Should I apply for an AAT merits review? 

The benefits of the AAT merits review are it will allow your visa application or nomination application to be reviewed by a third party, and you will have the chance to provide additional documents and evidence to support your claims. 

How can SOL Migration assist you with AAT Visa review? 

SOL Migration has a strong team of experienced Registered Migration Agents. Our Registered Migration Agents will assess your eligibility and recommend which pathway is your best option for you.  

Contact SOL Migration today at 07 3003 1899 or hello@solmigration.com to evaluate your situation and check if an AAT merits review is a good option for you. 

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