Visa applications are frequently refused. This can cause heartbreak and represent a significant loss of money.
The visa process is confusing and the law and policy are continually changing. People who prepare their own applications can run into problems for a range of reasons. Some of these relate to not understanding the visa rules to start with or not providing sufficient evidence that they meet the visa criteria or in making a minor mistake in answering a seemingly innocuous question.
The Department of Immigration also makes mistakes in deciding an application leaving itself open to legal challenge through the review system. In addition state governments and accreditation bodies have review processes in place that allow you to formally challenge refusal decisions.
Prior to refusing a visa the Department of Immigration is required to a) provide you with a notice stating why it is intending to refuse your visa, and b) give you the opportunity to respond in writing as to why your visa should not be refused.
If you receive a notice of intention to refuse your visa it is critical you speak to VisAustralia about how to prepare your submission in response. VisAustralia is able to expertly review your application and the proposed ground for refusal and prepare a detailed response that can keep your application alive.
In some cases you are able to include a special submission with your application relating to an issue that would otherwise be a basis for refusing your visa. These include situations where you have breached a particular visa condition in Australia, have previously overstayed an Australian visa or had a visa cancelled, have been deported or asked to leave any country, have criminal convictions or major health issues, have suffered domestic violence while holding a Partner visa, or have been dismissed from a job while holding a temporary work visa.
In some cases it is possible to submit a waiver request explaining your circumstances that then allows the Australian Government to make a decision to grant a visa it must otherwise refuse.
VisAustralia lawyers are experts at analysing your circumstances and preparing waiver requests that are likely to be successful. If any of these issues affect you we invite you to contact our Australian office immediately.
Applications lodged in Australia, refusals of sponsored visa applications, and visa cancellations can be challenged in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and the Federal Court. Challenges can also be mounted to the decisions of the accrediting bodies and state governments.
The Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT)
The Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) is the main administrative forum where decisions by Departmental officers to refuse visa applications can be challenged. An appeal to the AAT provides an opportunity to have an independent "second look" at the merits of the Department's action.
In reviewing whether the decision in your case is correct and handling your appeal to the AAT or the relevant body, VisAustralia will ensure that all relevant material supporting your visa application is fully considered, and will put your case positively and forcefully.
Appeals against negative decisions made by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, or the Refugee Review Tribunal can be appealed to the Federal Court. The decisions made by the Tribunals are not all subject to review in the Courts. Appeals to the Courts are limited in scope to determining whether the Tribunal has made a "jurisdictional error" – for example, by failing to correctly identify the issues, by incorrectly interpreting the law, by failing to consider relevant material or by relying on irrelevant material to arrive at its decision.
VisAustralia can undertake a careful review of the Tribunal's decision, provide advice to you as to whether there are solid grounds that justify going forward with an appeal, and act for you in the Court proceeding.
If you have an issue with a possible visa or other refusal we invite you contact VisAustralia to book a consultation with one of our expert lawyers or migration agents.