RRT / MRT / AAT / FCC / FCA / HC Appeals
If your visa is refused the following are the appeal options available.
Please remember there are time limits.
Please contact us immediately
The Migration Review Tribunal (MRT) and Refugee Review Tribunal (RRT) conduct merit reviews of visa and visa-related decisions made by the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection.
Merits review is an administrative reconsideration of a case. A merits review body makes decisions within the same legislative framework as the primary decision maker, and may exercise all the powers and discretions conferred on the primary decision maker.
- MRT: Reviews a wide range of decisions in relation to visas other than protection visas
- RRT: Reviews decisions in relation to protection visas.
The tribunals are usually constituted by a single member. The tribunals have the power to affirm the primary decision, vary the primary decision, set aside the primary decision and substitute a new decision, or remit (return) a matter to the department for reconsideration with specific directions.
In reviewing a decision to refuse or cancel a visa, the tribunals are required to conduct a merits review that is ‘independent, fair, just, economical, informal and quick’. We aim to make the correct decision in individual cases, and to influence decision-making through quality and consistency of our decisions.
Administrative Appeals Tribunal
The Tribunal reviews a wide range of administrative decisions made by Australian Government ministers, departments, agencies and some other tribunals. In limited circumstances, the Tribunal can review administrative decisions made by state government and non-government bodies. The Tribunal can also review decisions made by the Norfolk Island Government.
Merits review of an administrative decision involves considering afresh the facts, law and policy relating to that decision. The Tribunal considers the material before it and decides what is the correct - or, in a discretionary area, the preferable - decision. It will affirm, vary or set aside the decision under review.
The Tribunal is not always the first avenue of review of an administrative decision. In some cases, the Tribunal cannot review a decision until there has been an internal review of the primary decision. In other cases, review by the Tribunal is only available after intermediate review by a specialist tribunal - for example, an application for review of a family assistance or social security decision may be made only after review by the Social Security Appeals Tribunal.
Section 33 of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act requires that proceedings of the Tribunal be conducted with as little formality and technicality, and with as much expedition, as the requirements of the Act and a proper consideration of the matters before the Tribunal permit. The Tribunal is not bound by the rules of evidence and can inform itself in any manner it considers appropriate.
Federal Circuit Court
The Federal Circuit Court of Australia (the Court) can review some decisions made under the Migration Act 1958. These include decisions made by the Minister for Immigration, Multicultural Affairs and Border Protection (the Minister), the Refugee Review Tribunal and the Migration Review Tribunal.
The Court may only review a decision in order to determine if a ‘jurisdictional error’ has been made. This means the Court determines if the decision has been made according to law. The Court is independent of the decision makers. The Court does not consider the merits of your application and whether you should or should not be granted a visa.
If the Court finds a jurisdictional error, it can:
- refer your case back to the decision maker, and.
- prevent the Minister from acting on the decision.
The Court cannot:
- reconsider the facts and reasons for your visa application
- take new factual information into account (unless it is relevant to a question of whether the decision maker made a jurisdictional error), or
- grant you a visa
Federal Court of Australia
The objectives of the Court are to:
Decide disputes according to law - promptly, courteously and effectively and, in so doing, to interpret the statutory law and develop the general law of the Commonwealth, so as to fulfil
the role of a court exercising the judicial power of the Commonwealth under the Constitution.
Provide an effective registry service to the community.
Manage the resources allotted by Parliament efficiently.
High Court Appeals
The High Court is the highest court in the Australian judicial system.
The High Court of Australia is able to deal with cases which come to it on appeal or which begin in the High Court itself.
The functions of the High Court are to interpret and apply the law of Australia; to decide cases of special federal significance including challenges to the constitutional validity of laws and to hear appeals, by special leave, from Federal, State and Territory courts.
The subject matter of the cases heard by the Court traverses the whole range of Australian law. It includes, for instance, arbitration, contract, company law, copyright, courts-martial, criminal law and procedure, tax law, insurance, personal injury, property law, family law, trade practices, etc.
Most of the Court's work relates to the hearing of appeals against decisions of other courts. There is no automatic right to have an appeal heard by the High Court and parties who wish to appeal must persuade the Court in a preliminary hearing that there are special reasons to cause the appeal to be heard. Decisions of the High Court on appeals are final. There are no further appeals once a matter has been decided by the High Court, and the decision is binding on all other courts throughout Australia.