From time to time, there are cases where hopeful migrants have their visa applications refused. This deals a significant blow to their aspirations. However, many are unaware of their claim to ask for a review of their visa application. If you find yourself in a similar situation, then start making preparations to lodge an AAT Merits Review application instead of losing hope!
The AAT Merits Review is conducted by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT), which is an independent Australian tribunal tasked with reviewing administrative decisions made by the Australian government under Commonwealth laws. Decisions made by Australian government ministers, departments, and agencies – as well as state government and non-government bodies – are all reviewed by the AAT.
What is an AAT Merits Review?
The AAT Merits Review allows you to apply for a review of your visa application in the hope of having an unfavourable decision reversed. For example, if you had a visa application rejected, you can request for an AAT Merits Review for a re-examination of your visa application – provided you apply for the review.
However, it would be best not to take for granted that your visa application will be accepted. The AAT only reverses an original decision only if it sees fit to do so. The decisions the AAT can reach include:
- Affirming the original decision.
- Varying the original decision.
- Substituting in a new decision in place of the original decision.
Resending the matter to the Department of Immigration to be decided again with specific instructions and recommendations.
How does an AAT Merits Review work?
The AAT Merits Review is conducted by the AAT taking a fresh look at the law, policy, and facts relating to the original decision, and arriving at its own conclusion. You can request for an AAT Merits Review if you qualify for the right to apply. You will be invited to attend a hearing and present your case, answer questions, and make written submissions to the Tribunal. There is no exact timeframe for the Tribunal to give a verdict, as each visa application requires a different review process – some reviews can take as long as three months!
Once your case gets allocated to a Member, you might have to:
- Present more information
- Comment on any information which could be the reason for not changing the original decision
- Present arguments for your case
- Nominate someone other than you to provide evidence
- Suggest additional evidence related to the review.
Who can apply for an AAT Merits Review?
There are no iron-clad set of requirements for an AAT Merits Review. When you get the letter informing you of the decision on your visa application, it will be mentioned in that letter whether or not you can apply for a review. So once you get the response letter, you can act accordingly.
What can I request an AAT Merits Review for?
The AAT Merits Review is not limited to just visa application refusals. You can also challenge a decision made on:
- Australian citizenship
- Cancellation of a visa
- Registering – or refusing to register – a person as a migration agent
- Deregistering – or refusing to deregister – a person as a migration agent
- Cancellation or suspension of a person’s registration as a migration agent
- Child support
- Commonwealth workers’ compensation
- Family assistance
- Paid parental leave
- Social security
- Student assistance
- Civil aviation
- Corporations and financial services regulation
- Freedom of information
- Security assessments by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation.
How to apply for an AAT Merits Review
You can lodge your AAT Merits Review application either online, in person, through the post, or by fax. For migration related refusals, you can fill out the following forms:
M1 – Application form for persons not in immigration detention
M2 – Application form for persons in immigration detention
Do I have to attend the hearing on my own?
No! You can select a representative to attend the hearing – and make your case – on your behalf! In such cases, the best option for you would be to consult eduaid. We are globally a renowned migration agent with almost 20 years’ worth of experience in helping clients achieve their dream of moving to Australia. We specialise in matters relating to visa applications and will expertly handle your AAT Merits Review procedure for you!