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ADMINISTRATIVE APPEAL TRIBUNAL (AAT):

The Australian government gives equal opportunity to those applicants whose visa is refused or canceled and wish to apply for review on merit basis. This merit review is conducted by a merit review tribunal, Administrative Appeal Tribunal (AAT). The AAT is an autonomous merits review tribunal that reviews cases of visa refusal or cancelation decisions (known as migration decisions), mostly onshore protection refusal decisions (known as refugee decisions), and, character-related refusal decisions. AAT undertakes candid approach to take decision on review applications.
It is pertinent to note that before 1 July 2015, a Merits Review Tribunal (MRT) decision also included decisions from the Migration Review Tribunal and the Refugee Review Tribunal. These two tribunals amalgamated into the AAT, and, now AAT is only merits review tribunal for immigration related matters. Please refer to www.border.gov.au for more information
In addition to this Independent Protection Assessment (IPA) is a body individual who reviews Departmental decisions for refugee determination in offshore protection obligation assessments. IPA conducts independent and unbiased investigation of the applicant’s protection claims.

Sphere of Influence for AAT:

In addition to primary task mentioned in above paras, a few of departmental decision for which AAT has influence to conduct review are as under:
  • to register, or refuse to register, a person or a migration agent
  • to deregister, or refuse to deregister, a person or a migration agent
  • to cancel or suspend a person’s registration as a migration agent
  • access to information (decisions made under the Freedom of Information Act 1982)
Refer www.border.gov.au for more information and updates.

Timeframe to apply for an appeal:

This timeframe can vary from case to case basis, on the type of decision, and, by which you were notified of the decision. Usually appeal/review application should be lodged with AAT within 21 days of decision made. An applicant may waste chances of review if timeline to apply is not strictly followed.

Hearings at AAT:

AAT welcomes applicant to present himself before AAT to provide arguments and evidences to support appeal filed and present more relevant documents to get decision in applicant’s favor. This includes face-to-face discussion with AAT Members who will make decision after considering all facts and figures. This process is usually called as Hearings at AAT. The Member of AAT may cross check evidences and verbal statements to justify his decision. The decision from AAT may be made in more than 1 hearing. The applicant should be well prepared for these hearings and foresee all possible questions that may be asked by AAT member. The decision is purely made on merit and evidences provided.

Decisions of AAT:

The decisions of AAT can be considered as a new and effective decision and may be presented to other tribunal and courts. In this way AAT plays role of DIBP and make a new decision that is based on merit and considering facts of situation with evidences. In case of negative outcome from AAT decision, an applicant may file appeal with Federal Court, however, this appeal should be based on any legal error in previous decision.

Term `Remit’ and `Affirm’:

There are two possible outcome from AAT Review. The AAT can decide either `AFFIRM’ or `REMIT’ the decision made by DIBP. `Affirm’ refer to reconfirmation of decision taken by DIBP i.e. visa cancelation or refusal. Here applicant may file further appeal with other courts for consideration. The most likely courts are `Federal Court’ and `Ministerial Invention’. You can appeal to Federal Court if you think that there is a legal error in the decision of AAT, or, AAT applied incorrect approach in considering your eligibility, or, AAT was unfair in making a decision as AAT didn’t consider all available evidences. The Federal Court will not go back to details of appeal, so, you have to very confident and have sufficient evidences in arguments of legal error made in decision of AAT. On other hand, the Ministerial Invention require high level of convincing grounds to grant the visa. It is, therefore, most important to have a look on available evidences and arguments before filing appeal with Ministerial Invention.
’Remit’ refer to AAT disagreement to decision of DIBP for refusal or cancelation of visa. In this scenario AAT reverts back decision of DIBP. The DIBP, eventually, grants visa to applicant subject to fulfilling remaining documents, if any, like health insurance or character certificate.