Administrative Appeals Tribunal – Migration Review Division

Administrative Appeals Tribunal – Migration Review Division

AAT – Migration Review Division

Most visa cancellations and refusals must now be appealed to the AAT- Migration Review Division, formerly known as the Migration Review Tribunal and Refugee Review Tribunal migration review tribunal.

The AAT- Migration Review Division hears appeals against Australian visa refusals and cancellations butit does not hear appeals against s 501 Character cases nor Citizenship matters.


Review of Protection Visa Decisions

The AAT – MRD also now hears decsions relating to the refusal or cancellation of Protection visas or what are also known as Refugee Visas. These decisions were formerly heard by the Refugee Review Tribunal or RRT which, has now merged with the AAT.

In Australia this visa subclass is subclass 866. Once you have had a protection visa refused, you cannot lodge a further protection visa in Australia so your appeal to the AAT-MRD may be your last chance of staying in Australia.

To be successful, you must satisfy the ATT-MRD you are unable or unwilling to return to your country because you have a well-founded fear of persecution because of your race, religion, political opinion, nationality, or membership of a particular social group. Complimentary protection criteria will be met if you show there is a real risk that if you return home you will suffer will suffer “significant harm” being arbitrary deprivation of life death penalty torture cruel or inhuman or degrading  treatment or punishment.


How / When Can I apply?

Applications can be paper based or lodged online. Once you have received notification from the DIBP of refusal / cancellation, you must lodge your appeal within the time frame set by law. If a visa is refused , for example, 21 days is usually given. If cancelled, time frames are far shorter. Therefore, calculations on time for lodgment must be accurate. If you do not lodge within time, the AAT – MRD cannot and will not hear your appeal and your right of appeal is lost.

Note:  If you are considering applying for Ministerial Intervention under section 351 or section 417, the Minister only has power to substitute a more favourable decision in place of the AAT-MRD decision. Therefore, not lodging in time means you cannot then use the appeal to access Ministerial Intervention Powers.


What happens  After I lodge?

You will receive notification of acceptance of your appeal by the AAT-MRD. When the AAT-MRD is ready to hear your appeal, you will receive an invitation to appear at the Tribunal. You may also receive a request to provide further evidence and information. In some cases, if you do not provide to the AAT-MRD what is requested by it, you can lose your right to appeal and the AAT-MRD can move to decide your appeal without taking further evidence.


What happens at  the AAT-MRD Hearing?

At the hearing, the Tribunal officer will commence the hearing by explaining the process to you and ask you to take an oath or affirmation. The Tribunal member (the person hearing your appeal) will then enter and give you the opportunity to tell your story and why you believe your cancellation / refusal should by overturned. The Tribunal Member will ask you questions and may put matters to you which they think are reasons for finding against you. You can have witnesses appear to give evidence for you and you can take a support person or have migration agent / lawyer represent you. The Tribunal Member will usually close the hearing and make a decision some weeks / months after the hearing depending on the complexity of your matter and amount of evidence provided.


What Should be Provided with my Appeal?

You must support your appeal with a much evidence and information as possible to assist the AAT-MRD in finding in your favour. Legal Submissions should also be submitted that address the reasons for refusal/cancellation and the law and policy that must be satisfied for the appeal to be successful. Remember , this may be your last chance at  getting your visa back and remaining in Australia so putting your case to the AAT-MRD properly is essential to winning.


How can Turner Coulson Help?

Our immigration lawyers in Sydney have over 20 years of experience arguing cases on behalf of clients in the AAT-MRD, as formerly known as the MRT and RRT, achieving success where the client would have lost, and had to leave Australia if unrepresented. Don’t take a chance with your future. Call us now for a consultation so that you can get a clear picture of your chances of success and how your case should be argued. We can then take your matter fto lodge, prepare and appear at the AAT-MRD for you.

Getting the right advice upfront is essential so contact us for a free no obligation telephone discussion with Ray Turner or Stewart Coulson who are ready and waiting to assist  –

  • Direct call on (+61) 2 9222 1545
  • Send us an email
  • Request a callback


NOTE: On 11 December 2014, new cancellation powers and processes were introduced under section 133A (relating to cancellations under section  109) and section 133C ( relating to cancellations under section 116) of the Migration Act 1958. These sections give the Minister the power to cancel visas where an appeal to the AAT-MRD has been successful. This means that you may appeal against your visa cancellation, win and get your visa reinstated only for the Minister to step in and decide to cancel your visa again. If he decides to do this personally, then you will not get notice and not be able to appeal to a Tribunal against the cancellation. Your only option then would be to consider a Court appeal or further visa application that can be lodged following cancellation.

Call us to discuss if this power puts your visa at risk even though you been to the AAT-MRD and won.