COVID-19 and Visas
Employer-Linked Visas

Appeals and Reviews

If your visa application is unsuccessful, it is usually possible to apply to have the decision reviewed. There are two major avenues through which to apply for review:

  • The Tribunals
  • The Minister for Immigration.

Our experience and services

As legal professionals, we are called on to represent applicants or companies in cases where:

  • Applications have been unsuccessful
  • Immigration department officials have taken action or are about to take action which is improper or beyond their power
  • Visas have been cancelled

We are referred applicants for appeals and review by law firms, migration agents, community and church organisations, student organisations, universities and other educational institutions.

How we are able to assist:

  • Reviewing case to advise on prospects of appeal
  • Advise on other immigration options – separate or parallel to an appeal or review
  • Preparing all aspects of the appeal, including written submissions to the Tribunal/ Court
  • Preparing the case and client for the Tribunal or Court hearing
  • Preparing and collecting evidence to support the case
  • Representing and advocating for clients at the hearing

Contact Visa Lawyers Australia for assistance.

We have assisted applicants with appeals and merits reviews in the following contexts:

  • Visa cancellations and refusals
  • Character
  • Fraud
  • Health
  • Work experience
  • Skilled migrants
  • Language ability
  • Genuineness of marital, spousal, de facto, same-sex relationship
  • Genuineness of visitor/ student status
  • Company sponsorships and nominations
  • Eligibility of sponsors
  • Persecution
  • Credibility
  • Whether notices from the Immigration Department were properly sent
  • Breach of employer sponsorship undertakings or visa conditions and obligations

The Migration and Refugee Tribunals (MRT) and the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) 

Immigration Department decisions can be reviewed by application to the Migration and Refugee Review Tribunals, or the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. Generally speaking the Tribunals are able to reconsider all the facts, circumstances and the law in a particular case and make a decision on the merits. The review is treated as a “second attempt” at the application.

The Minister for Immigration

The Minister for Immigration has a personal power to intervene and grant a visa, despite refusal by the Immigration Department and the Tribunals. However, this power is used sparingly and the Minister is not obliged to use this power. The power may be used if the Minister considers it is in the public interest to do so, even if a person does not meet the legal requirements for a visa. For this type of review, please see Difficult and Complex Cases.


It is also possible that some decisions of the Immigration Department or the Tribunals can be appealed to the Federal Courts. This type of review is different because it is generally confined to whether an error of law occurred in the making of the decision, rather than whether the decision was correct based on the facts.

The review and appeals processes are complex, and any right to review or appeal must be dealt with comprehensively and quickly.

Why an application may be refused or a visa revoked
Applications may have been refused for a variety of reasons. Some examples include:

  • Immigration officers may have misinterpreted and not properly applied the law to the facts or may have overlooked the facts
  • The application was not properly prepared or presented
  • The applicant was deemed not to meet visa criteria, including character and health
  • The company/ employer sponsor was deemed not to meet sponsorship or nomination criteria
  • The applicant was deemed to have provided false, misleading or insufficient information or documentation

Visas may be cancelled in the following contexts:

  • Breach of visa conditions – eg work restrictions or study and attendance obligations
  • Breaches of good character requirements
  • Termination of employment, in the case of employer sponsored visas
  • Termination of relationship, in the case of partner visas
  • Discovery that false, incorrect or misleading information was provided in support of an application
  • Allegations that the marriage, de facto relationship or same sex relationship was not genuine or did not really exist
  • Visas were improperly granted – eg the Immigration Department made an incorrect decision in granting the visa