Visa Refusal Appeal

Have you had a notice of intention to cancel your visa or had your application for a visa refused? 

Some of the most common reasons for refusal of an application for a visa are:

  • not abiding by conditions attached to a previous visa award
  • not providing sufficient information to support claims made in your application
  • failing to meet the standard health or good character requirements for Australian visa applications
  • providing incorrect or misleading information in your visa applications
  • failing to provide sufficient evidence of being able to financially support yourself
  • intending to attend a course that was in a field of study too different from previous studies (student visas only)
  • not providing sufficient proof that there is a genuine need to recruit from outside Australia, or that you will be paid a fair market rate (employer-sponsored visas only)

If you have received a “Natural Justice Letter“, please be aware that you will only have a limited time in which to formally respond.

For more information on how we may be able to help you lodge an appeal against your refusal, please fill out the form here so we can assess your situation.

What do I do if my visa is cancelled or my application has been refused?

If your visa has been cancelled or your application refused, you may be eligible for a review of the decision by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).

NB: Not every negative decision can be reviewed by the AAT e.g. decisions made by the Minister for Immigration under section 501 of the Migration Act 1958.

Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT)

The AAT is an independent body set up to review certain types of decisions made by the Australian government. There are certain specialist offices within the AAT responsible for different types of decision:

  • The General Division typically reviews decisions which relate to:
    • matters of character (including section 501 of the Migration Act 1958)
    • matters of citizenship
    • matters pertaining to the activities of the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (OMARA)
  • The Migration and Refugee Division (MRD) typically reviews most decisions relating to ‘standard’ visa refusals and cancellations for immigrants and refugees
  • The Immigration Assessment Authority, which is an independent part of the MRD which looks at fast-track decisions specifically relating to Protection visas

What happens once I’ve requested a review?

Once a request for review by the AAT has been submitted, the tribunal will review the available evidence and make one of the following decisions:


The AAT supports the Department’s original decision to refuse or cancel or visa.

Set aside:

The AAT decides that the Department’s original decision was wrong, and should be changed. The AAT may choose to make a new decision to replace the original, erroneous one (e.g. to replace a refusal with a grant).


The AAT decides that the Department’s original decision must be reconsidered, potentially with specific guidelines from the tribunal. The Department will then be required to reconsider the evidence and reach a new decision (which may or may not be different from the original one).

No jurisdiction: 

The AAT concludes that it does not have the legal power to review the original decision made by the Department.

Applications for review must be submitted ON TIME

It is critical that if you receive notification of either a refusal or cancellation, you take note of how many days your refusal letter states you will have to submit any appeal against the decision you have refused.

If you do not submit an appeal within the time limit stated in your refusal letter, you may lose any legal right to contest the decision.

Can I stay in Australia while my application is being reviewed?

Yes. Under normal circumstances, you will be eligible to apply for and receive a Bridging Visa with the same rights and conditions as your previous visa. Your Bridging Visa will last until your request for a review has been considered and a decision has been reached.

What can I do if my appeal is rejected by the AAT?

In the event that the AAT supports the Department and does not overturn the decision to refuse or cancel your visa, you have two options:

Application to Federal Court: This option is suitable where you believe there has been a legal error in the decision that has been made by either the Department or the AAT (or both).

Application for Ministerial intervention: You may also wish to write to the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, requesting that he use his personal discretion in law to award you a visa. Please note that you will require a strong reason or case for it to be likely that the Minister will personally intervene in your case.

Book your no-obligation consultation today with our Registered Migration Agents in Melbourne, and find out the right visa options for your unique circumstances.

Australian Migration Services