Ministerial Intervention to grant a visa

The Minister for Immigration has discretionary powers under the Migration Act 1958 to replace a decision of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) with a decision that is more favourable to you if the Minister thinks it is in the public interest to do so.

Ministerial Intervention is the port of last call in any visa process after other administrative processes have failed.

Ministerial Intervention is discretionary, and the Minister is not obliged to intervene in your case. Only a small number of requests are successful. If the Minister decides there is no public interest in intervening you will be expected to leave Australia.

When will the minister intervene?

Unlike the Department of Home Affairs and the AAT, the Minister of Immigration is not bound by the rules and regulations of the particular visa you are applying for and he or she can give you a different or better visa that the one you applied for.

The Minister is most likely to exercise a discretionary power where:

  • there are strong compassionate reasons for intervention in circumstances where one or more your family is an Australian citizen and your removal would cause the family serious harm;
  • you are in ill health and your removal would cause you serious harm;
  • there is an exceptional scientific, economic or cultural benefit to Australia if you were to remain in Australia;
  • you cannot be returned to your country of origin because of circumstances beyond your control;
  • you are at risk of mistreatment if returned to your country of origin, despite not meeting the criteria for refugee status;
  • you have been refused a Protection Visa on character grounds and you are at risk of being harmed if returned to your country of origin.
  • When will the Minister not intervene?

    The minister cannot exercise his or her discretionary powers in the following circumstances:

    • the AAT has not yet made a decision;
    • the AAT does not have jurisdiction;
    • the application was made outside of a time limit;
    • a Minister has already intervened to grant a visa;
    • the AAT has referred the matter back to the Department and a decision has already been made to approve the visa.
    • Legal advice

      A request for Ministerial Intervention is a specialised area of work that requires the preparation of a detailed submission and specific documentation to support any compelling, unique or exceptional circumstances that might exist.

      If you have received a decision from the Department or the AAT to refuse your visa application and wish to request Ministerial Intervention, we invite you to book a consultation with one of our expert migration lawyers.

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