The extent of poor decision making is revealed in case statistics published by the Administrative Review Tribunal
Of the cases taken to the Administrative Review Tribunal between 1 July 2016 and 31 May 2017, 38% of decisions made by the Department were overturned by the Tribunal because they were not correctly decided.
The statistics are higher for certain visa types
For example, 56% of Visitor visa refusals (Subclass 600) and 54% of Partner visa refusals were overturned by the Tribunal in the same period for being wrongly decided. These statistics are disturbing.
The Federal Court also reviews decisions made by the AAT. While the percentage of AAT decisions overturned by the Federal Court is lower, the Court makes key decisions that influence how the Department decides future visa applications.
No review rights for off-shore decisions
The statistics from the AAT do not tell the full story of visa decision making because decisions made in respect of off-shore applications, being applications made outside Australia, do not generally attract review rights.
This includes Visitor visa, Student visa, and permanent Skilled visa applications.
If you or a family member receives a poor decision in relation to one of these applications you have no right to request a review of the decision. The public also has no way of knowing how many off-shore decisions are made that are incorrect at law.
In some cases the only solution is to make a second application attempting to fix whatever it was the Case Officer found to be wrong with the first application. At this point many people visit their local Member of Parliament to request his or her support with the new application.
In other cases you can seek to have a decision overturned administratively.
In these cases, you better make sure you have a good lawyer on your side
Requests for support with migration matters to Members of Parliament constitute one of the largest areas of support politicians are asked to give to constituents. Requesting support from your MP will not guarantee the visa will be granted but it may ensure the application is looked at properly.