Visa Refusal | AAT Appeal

You may be able to appeal your visa refusal, visa cancellation, business sponsorship or nomination application refusal to the AAT (Administrative Appeals Tribunal).

The role of the Tribunal is to review the Department’s decision for refusing your application (or cancelling your visa), and re-decide if the Department’s decision was correct. The relevant Tribunal Member will assess and decide if your application satisfies the relevant legal requirements for approval. The AAT can make a decision in your favour and decide that the Department’s decision is incorrect and send the matter back to the Department for reconsideration. If the matter is sent back to the Department for reconsideration, generally speaking, the Department will grant the visa or revoke the visa cancellation.

The AAT can also decide that the Department’s decision was correct and confirm this in its decision. If this occurs, then your appeal is not successful (the consequences of this are explained below).

      Visa Refusal | AAT Appeal

      Who can apply for AAT review?

      You may be able to apply for AAT review in the following situations:

      • You are in Australia, applied for a visa and this application was refused by the Department
      • You are in Australia and your visa was cancelled by the Department
      • You are in Australia and your visa was cancelled and your application to have the cancellation revoked was refused by the Department
      • You are sponsored or nominated by an employer or another person for a visa, and you lodged this visa application outside of Australia. Approval of the sponsorship or nomination must be a requirement for visa approval. Your sponsor or nominator may apply to the AAT for review of the decision to refuse your visa application. Individuals who may be able to apply for AAT review on this basis include applicants who are sponsored by their employer (457, 482 TSS, 186 or 187 visas), sponsor or partner (309/100 and 300 visas), family members (carer or remaining relative visas) etc. Note: For Resident Return visas and Visitor visas, only a parent, spouse, child, brother or sister of the visa applicant may apply for review if the visa applicant was outside of Australia at the time of visa application
      • You are an employer that applied for Standard Business Sponsorship and this application was refused

      The AAT cannot review a decision to cancel a visa if the cancellation occurred when the visa holder was outside of Australia.

      If the visa applicant or holder is in Australia, then they are the person who should apply for review. If the visa applicant is overseas, then in most cases the Australian sponsor, nominator or family member makes the application for review.

      The business sponsor or employer must apply for review in relation to a refusal of a Standard Business Sponsorship and/or nomination application.

      How does the AAT process work?

      The AAT will complete its own independent assessment of your application to determine if the relevant legal requirements are satisfied. The AAT will review:

      • All evidence, documents forms and interview records held by the Department (you can obtain a copy of these records by completing a Freedom of Information request with the Department)
      • Any submissions or evidence which you submit to the AAT for their consideration, and
      • Any evidence provided at the hearing

      The AAT also has independent power to conduct its own investigations. For example it may contact your employer, friends or family if you have provided evidence from, or about, them, or if the Tribunal Member believes that such information and documents are relevant in deciding your application.

      If the AAT has any adverse information about you (i.e. information which may cause the review application to fail) then the Tribunal should notify you and ask you to comment on that adverse information held by the AAT. If you receive such a notification it is very important that you do respond to the request for comments within the time limit specified, otherwise your review application may fail.

      Generally speaking, the following events will occur when you appeal to the AAT:

      1. You will lodge your AAT application within the allowed time limit. You can lodge your AAT appeal online (you are allowed to lodge multiple appeals using the same AAT online account. You don’t need to create separate accounts if you need to lodge multiple appeals, such as appealing both business nomination and visa application refusals)
      2. When you are completing the online appeal form, you will get to a web page that will ask you to upload relevant supporting documents. You should upload a copy of the Department’s PDF Refusal Decision Record, which would be attached to the email from the Department notifying you of your application refusal. Generally speaking, this is the only document that the AAT will need immediately after the lodgement of your appeal. If you do not upload this document now (or after lodgement of your appeal via your online AAT account), then the AAT will likely send you an email asking you to upload this document. After lodging your appeal, you can log back into your online AAT account and upload further relevant documents for your appeal
      3. After you pay and lodge your online appeal, you should receive an auto-mated email from the Tribunal confirming that they have received your appeal. The AAT’s standard letters state that the validity of your appeal has not been assessed yet – extract from current standard AAT letter: Please note that the validity of your application has not yet been assessed. We can only review a decision if a valid application for review has been made. You will be advised if it appears that your application may not be valid. If you lodged a valid appeal, then the AAT will not send you any further correspondence to confirm that your appeal is valid. You can assume that your appeal is valid and in the queue if you do not receive any further correspondence from the AAT. The AAT will however send you further email correspondence if there are any issues or questions in relation to the validity of your appeal
      4. Generally speaking, you will not receive any further correspondence or instructions from the AAT after lodging your valid appeal, while you wait the AAT’s processing time. The AAT will generally only contact you once the relevant Tribunal Member has been allocated to your appeal, and he or she has set a hearing date for your appeal. The AAT’s correspondence would also ask you to submit any further documents and information that you would like the Tribunal Member to consider in his or her assessment, and this correspondence may also provide a list of particular information and documents that the Tribunal Member requires (this would generally mean that the Tribunal Member has reviewed the information and documents from the Department’s files and your earlier application, and any further information and documents that you uploaded via your online AAT account)
      5. The Tribunal Member may be able to make a favourable decision just based on considering the documents and evidence that the AAT has on file, without the need for a hearing. However, such decisions are rare and this will generally only occur if the appeal is straight forward, and you have provided information and documents which demonstrate that you satisfy the relevant legal requirements without the further need for hearing evidence. If a decision cannot be made based on considering only the documents and information held by the AAT, then you will be invited to provide comments or provide further information to the AAT – it is important that you do respond to this invitation which includes a form that you need to complete and send back to the AAT to confirm your attendance. If you are unable to attend the appointed hearing date, then you need to email and correspond with the AAT as soon as possible to request for a re-scheduling of the hearing. In your request email, you need to attach supporting evidence to demonstrate why you cannot attend the appointed hearing date. Your request for an extension is at the discretion of the Tribunal Member deciding your appeal, and he or she is allowed to reject your request
      6. Your representing migration agent and/or solicitor can attend the hearing with you. However, generally speaking, your representative cannot speak on your behalf and answer the Tribunal Member’s hearing questions. You can speak with your migration agent and/or solicitor, and get advice and clarification from him or her during the hearing. You can request an interpreter if required
      7. The Tribunal Member may ask you to provide additional information and documents after the hearing, if this is required before the Tribunal Member can decide if your application satisfies the relevant legal requirements. The Tribunal Member may also schedule further hearings if required
      8. After your appeal hearing is finalised, the AAT will generally send you a written statement advising of the Tribunal Member’s decision

      AAT decision


      What if the AAT appeal is successful?​


      If your AAT application is successful, then your application will generally be remitted back to the Department for final determination and decision.


      The Department’s processing time for such applications is generally relatively short – say 4 to 8 weeks. However, processing times do vary significantly, and it may be months before you receive a decision from the Department.


      Approval of your AAT appeal does not guarantee that your application will be approved. The Department will still check to ensure that all the relevant eligibility requirements are satisfied. I have seen cases where the applicant has been successful with their AAT  appeal, but then the visa application is later refused for a different reason, such as not satisfying the relevant health and character requirements.


      What if my review is not successful?


      If your application for review at the AAT is not successful then you will be notified that your current bridging visa will cease in a certain period of time (generally speaking this is 21 days). If you do not want to leave Australia then you have two potential further avenues for review:


      • You can make a written request to the Minister to exercise her/his personal discretion to grant you a visa, or substitute a more favourable decision. This is an application for Ministerial Intervention
      • You may be able to appeal to the Federal Court or the Federal Magistrates Court – there are strict time limits for any such appeal

      Bridging visa & Work rights


      If you were granted a Bridging Visa A as a result of the visa application which the Department refused, then if you apply for AAT, this bridging visa will continue to be valid and will allow you to remain in Australia until the AAT has made a decision. If you do not appeal to the AAT then your Bridging Visa will expire and you will need to depart Australia or you will become unlawful.


      Can I work while I wait for my AAT hearing?


      That depends on the visa that you are currently holding. If you are holding a substantive visa, which are basically all visas except for bridging visas, then you need to comply with the conditions of your substantive visa. For example, if you are holding a student visa, then there may be restrictions on the number of hours that you can work. If you are a primary 457 visa holder, then you can only work for your sponsoring employer.


      If you are holding a bridging visa, then you need to check the conditions of your bridging visa. If you are holding a bridging visa and there are restrictions on your work rights, you may be able to apply for unrestricted work rights.


      This generally means that you need to demonstrate a ‘compelling need to work’. You need to provide evidence to show that you will suffer ‘financial hardship’ (or your household will suffer such hardship) unless you are allowed to work and earn an income.

      The Department’s policy guidelines indicates that ‘financial hardship’ is established if you can show that your living expenses are greater than your ability to pay for these costs.

      Can I apply for another visa?

      If you are still holding a substantive visa, then you should be able to lodge another visa application – assuming that you meet the relevant eligibility requirements. A ‘substantive’ visa is basically any visa which is not a bridging visa.

      If you do not hold a substantive visa (i.e. your last substantive visa has expired and you now hold a bridging visa that is associated with the AAT appeal), then Section 48 will bar you from making a further ‘substantive visa’ application because you have had a visa refusal, which is any visa except a Bridging visa, a Criminal Justice Visa or an Enforcement Visa.

      Despite Section 48, you can still lodge a valid application for the following types of visas: partner visas, bridging visas, Subclass 444 for New Zealand citizens and child visas.

      One possible way to lodge another visa application while you a waiting for an AAT hearing is to apply while  you are outside of Australia. If you are currently holding a Bridging visa A or B, then you may able to apply for a Bridging visa B which allows you to temporarily leave Australia. This may allow you to lodge another visa application with the Department, and then return to Australia on your Bridging visa B and remain in Australia while you wait for your AAT hearing.

      In terms of whether the Department can approve your new offshore visa application while you are in Australia, this will depend on the requirements of the visa that you applied for. For example, with General skilled migration visas (189, 190 and 489 visas) or employer sponsored permanent residency visas (186 and 187 visas), your offshore visa application can be decided when you are in Australia and hence, you won’t need to leave Australia for the Department to decide your new visa application. If you lodged an offshore partner visa (309/100 visa), then you do need to be outside of Australia at the time that the Department decides your visa application.

      Processing time & Appeal time limit


      What is the AAT application fee?


      The AAT application fee is currently $1,731.00, and 50% of this fee will be refunded if you are successful with your AAT appeal.

      There is no refund if your application is not successful, or if you later withdraw your AAT application.


      What is the time limit with appealing?


      It is important to note that there is a strict time limit by which you need to submit your AAT appeal application. The time limit will depend on the decision which is being challenged. However, the time limit within which you need to apply for AAT review is generally short.

      It is important that you carefully read the refusal or cancellation notice from the Department – this will tell you whether your refusal or cancellation is AAT reviewable, and the time by which you need to submit your application for review.

      The AAT cannot accept an application for review that is submitted outside of the allowed time frame. This is very strictly enforced.


      What is the AAT’s processing times?


      Generally speaking, waiting times are very lengthy and is around 12 to 18 months. Check the AAT website for average processing time.

      If you have circumstances that may warrant the AAT  treating your case with priority, you should bring this to the attention of the AAT (preferably when you lodge the application for review), together with appropriate evidence of why you require priority processing. Relevant circumstances could include:

      • being in detention
      • suffering from a serious medical condition
      • experiencing serious financial hardship
      • separation of a child from a parent or care giver
      Professional assistance with AAT appeal
      Hourly rates$275.00 (including GST)
      $250.00 (including GST) per hour for any additional time
      Estimated professional fees$2,000.00 – $6,000.00 +
      (depending on time and work required)
      Consultation booking & Fixed fee quoteFixed professional fee quote and payment schedule will be provided to you after our initial consultation and assessment

      Our recently published appeal decisions


      GOLOG PTY LTD (Migration) [2018] AATA 2727 (22 June 2018)


      SHAHRIAR (Migration) [2018] AATA 4848 (12 October 2018)

      Client reviews


      Luan nguyen · June 6, 2019 at 3:49 pm

      I submitted 186 and was rejected, in March I went to court and won the case, 2 months later my lawyer sent a message to the immigration department, they only considered the file and my cousin (health examination, police …) and my family did not see them saying anything, I waited for nearly 2 weeks, now I want to know if they see my profile, I am very worried if the file has anything , thanks

        Peng Cheng · June 8, 2019 at 4:07 pm

        Sorry but I can’t provide advice just based on your comment information.
        Please see Contact Us page and in relation to our Consultation Service – feel free to contact us if you need advice in relation to your visa options.

      Joselito magugat · June 5, 2019 at 6:23 pm

      My visa 186 got denied due my bogus document(college certificate)
      Is there any chance to remain in Australia or winning this case

        Peng Cheng · June 8, 2019 at 4:04 pm

        Sorry but to properly respond to your queries, I’d need to ask some questions and get some information/documents from you.
        Please see Contact Us page and in relation to our Consultation Service – feel free to contact us if you need advice in relation to your visa options.

      Amber · June 3, 2019 at 1:36 am

      My protection visa has been refused. Can I lodge a student visa without appealing this decision in AAT.

        Peng Cheng · June 7, 2019 at 4:52 pm

        Hi Amber,
        Probably no.
        Please see Contact Us page and in relation to our Consultation Service – feel free to contact us if you need advice in relation to your visa options.

      Janette · May 31, 2019 at 1:16 pm

      I applied for my PR and got refused due to a mistake made. At present im on a 457 visa which will expire in august do i automatically go onto a bridging visa or do i need to apply separately for one.

        Peng Cheng · June 1, 2019 at 8:45 pm

        Hi Janette,
        If you appeal the visa refusal, then your bridging visa should automatically continue.

      Aisling Mclaughlin · May 24, 2019 at 9:52 am

      Hi me and my partner has put in a appeal for a 187 regional in Nov 2017 through my partners work This visa is no longer a valid in Perth. we are currently thinking about applying for a new visa with me as the main visa holder and my partner defacto Is this even possible? also is there anyway of avoiding the Bridging E to put in the new application. Also are we able to keep the appeal going with him being the primary and me being defacto. as well as me applying for a visa and him being defacto

        Peng Cheng · May 27, 2019 at 8:59 pm

        Hi Aisling,
        Unfortunately I can’t provide advice just based on your comment information.
        Please see Contact Us page and in relation to our Consultation Service – feel free to contact us if you need advice in relation to your visa options.

        John · September 11, 2019 at 6:24 pm

        Hi Yes you can keep your appeal on but to apply for a new visa you will have to go overseas and apply offshore as you are barred from applying from Australia

      Joel · May 21, 2019 at 11:57 am

      Hi, I use to be on a partner 309 visa, and within 2months of my arrival me and my wife had misunderstandings and we got seperated and she withdrew her sponsorship and the department refused my Visa but prior to to the refusal date me and my wife have reconciled and I have appealed, so do you think I stand any chance from the AAT?

        Peng Cheng · May 27, 2019 at 8:57 pm

        Hi Joel,
        It is possible to get a tribunal approval in that situation – it depends on what you provide to the tribunal, and also your hearing.
        Please see Contact Us page and in relation to our Consultation Service – feel free to contact us if you need advice in relation to your visa options.

      Lily · May 18, 2019 at 11:14 am

      Hi Peng,

      I have read lots of your comments. My concern is whether it is legal for holding Bridging Visa B to leave AUS, apply for 489 or 190 visas offshore (outside of AUS) , then return to AUS while holding BVB to wait for AAT decision. Meanwhile, I can wait for my offshore 489 visa decision in Australia. Is this the whole process in a legal way ?

      As I worry for using this way, section 48 still apply on me, then my 489 visa will not be grant after doing this way. thanks.


      mat · May 7, 2019 at 8:23 pm

      I have been waiting for AAT hearing. my wife is pregnant at the moment and the due time for the baby will be after 18 months we lodged. if the visa will be approved we have to take medical examinations again? can she skip the x-ray?
      we are thinking to leave Australia because worried to leave too late when it will be a problem for her to is it possible to withdraw her name from our review so she can have the birth in our country and I can still wait for an answer here?

        Peng Cheng · May 9, 2019 at 1:59 pm

        Hi Mat,
        You can withdraw a dependent from the application but the primary applicant need to keep the appeal going if you want a hearing.
        Please see Contact Us page and in relation to our Consultation Service – feel free to contact us if you need further advice.

      George Kranitis · May 7, 2019 at 8:22 pm

      Hi, I am a business owner who recently applied to sponsor a migrant from Canada for a 482 Visa. He has been working with me for over 4 months now. I just received notification that the application was refused due to insufficient evidence provided for Labour Market Testing. Is it worth pursuing a merits review if we provide new evidence to prove labour market testing and does the tribunal take into account other factors external from labour market testing ie: being a “merits” based review, do they take into consideration the importance of the work this man is doing for my clients?

        Peng Cheng · May 19, 2019 at 9:23 am

        Hi George.
        Sorry but to properly respond to your queries, I’d need to ask some questions and get some information from you.
        Please see Contact Us page and in relation to our Consultation Service – feel free to contact us if you need advice in relation to your visa options.

      gbp · May 5, 2019 at 9:10 pm

      Hi sir, my name is gb, my 187 nomination has been refused, the reason given by CO was not providing current financial papers to support my nomination. without asking any documents, My employer happy to provide all documents to file AAT Review for nomination, my visa application still in process , nomination refusal date 01/05/2019, what will the decision do you think. thank you

        Peng Cheng · May 9, 2019 at 2:01 pm

        Hi Gbp,
        The likelihood of success depends on a number of factors. Please see Contact Us page and in relation to our Consultation Service – feel free to contact us if you need further advice.

      Shruti · May 3, 2019 at 1:31 pm

      I have applied for wrong visa 485 (Graduate work stream) instead of 485 (Post-study work stream) before finishing my student visa. I got refusal from Department. I am applying for AAT. When can my AAT decision might come?
      And can I apply again for correct 485 (Post-study work stream) now?
      Also as it was a simple mistake and I was not trying to do any fraudulent activity, can my plea will be considered? or will it be straight no?

        Peng Cheng · May 9, 2019 at 2:04 pm

        Hi Shruti,
        Current processing times for AAT matters are listed on their website:
        Processing time will may be shorter if it is a black and white issue that the tribunal can easily resolve, such as using the wrong stream.
        Unfortunately I can’t provide advice about the likelihood of a successful appeal just based on your comment information.
        Please see Contact Us page and in relation to our Consultation Service – feel free to contact us if you need advice in relation to your appeal.

      Zura · May 3, 2019 at 8:48 am


      I applied for a review on my protection visa in august 2016 but after 2 months (around october 2016)i submitted my application, i came back to malaysia and only recieved the decision of my unsucsessful application 6 months later (april 2017). I was wondering if the re-entry ban applied on me? And i was told to pay aud1673 for my visa review but i was already in malaysia at that time. I was planning to visit my sister in perth next month. Does this affect my new visa application?? Thanks in advance

        Peng Cheng · May 9, 2019 at 2:04 pm

        Hi Zura,
        If you are subject to a ban period this should be confirmed in the Department’s correspondence.
        Unfortunately I can’t provide advice about your visa eligibility just based on your comment information.
        Please see Contact Us page and in relation to our Consultation Service – feel free to contact us if you need advice in relation to your visa options.

      Vanessa · May 3, 2019 at 7:56 am

      Hi Peng,

      We have submitted a 187 visa application, nomination was denied and appealed, mine was denied only because of the denied nomination.but we have already appealedfor it. I would like to ask if with the changing law and requirements, is it safer for me to do a skills assessment? I have been on a 457 visa for 3 years. Thank you.

        Peng Cheng · May 9, 2019 at 2:04 pm

        Hi Vanessa,
        I can’t determine whether a skills assessment is required just based on your comment information.
        Please see Contact Us page and in relation to our Consultation Service – feel free to contact us if you need advice in relation to your visa options.

      Rajj · May 1, 2019 at 10:32 am

      Hi my hearing is done and waiting for decision from aat for student visa refusal been 1 month waiting after hearing and no reply yet if I want can I apply for bridging b for fiji or bali and go as I have to apply for 489 Visa and got nomination for that which is valid for 60 days cos aat not giving me decision and I do not want to expire my nomination
      Pls suggest something

        Peng Cheng · May 2, 2019 at 9:25 am

        Hi Rajj,
        You can try to apply for a BVB. I haven’t had to lodge in this situation but I think they will give it to you.

      alam · April 30, 2019 at 9:04 pm

      Hi, My wife’s student visa got rejected.Now her visa is on AAT. Can I lodge another student visa for my self while my wife waiting for AAT decesion.

      Bikesh · April 30, 2019 at 6:44 pm

      I have applied for 485 visa. I was granted a bridging visa,but my main concern is that while lodging the application I didn’t submit the AFP check or its reference. I thought that I would attach later. So i got my AFP check reference on 29th April after 9 days of lodgement. My application has not been finalised yet.. I am worried it might be refused. Is there a way to ammend the application? What are my options?

        Peng Cheng · May 2, 2019 at 9:25 am

        Hi Bikesh,
        The AFP clearance is a time of application requirement. Unfortunately the Department might not be able to approve the application.

      Rainbow · April 24, 2019 at 9:54 pm

      Hello Sir. I have applied a visa appeal applications since Oct 2018. But still have’t receive any news, is it normal or I should call the AAT to ask about it?
      Also how can I apply for Bridging Visa B becasue of my visa has already refuse that can’t apply at immi account?
      Is it not enough time for the BVB takes if I have to travel outside Australia on 12nd May?
      Thank you

      vaibhav · April 24, 2019 at 9:14 pm


      I am currently on a temporary graduate visa which is about to expire in a weeks time. I have applied for a student visa. If my student visa get’s rejected, what is the average appeal processing time for a student visa. One of my colleagues told me that his file got opened in a week’s time!

      Can you please confirm the stated average time for the appeal and also will I still be holding all my right of a 485 ( temporary graduate visa) till I receive my outcome from the tribunal.



        Peng Cheng · May 2, 2019 at 9:28 am

        Hi Vaibhav,
        The Department website provides further information about processing times for student visas: Processing time for the appeal is generally 12 to 18 months. I would need to look at your situation to see whether your bridging visa provides you with work rights.

          Vaibhav · May 2, 2019 at 6:26 pm

          Hi Peng,

          I have got a bridging visa A. It does not mention anything about not having work right . I have full working rights on my current Visa, so I was guessing that under the bridging visa you have the same rights that you had under your previous visa.It says “no conditions” under Brdging visa conditions. It only states that I cannot travel while I am on it.

            Peng Cheng · May 9, 2019 at 2:05 pm

            Hi Vaibhav,
            You have unrestricted work rights with nil conditions.

      Roshan Giri · April 23, 2019 at 5:52 am

      I have applied 457 visa for cook on February 28 before new rule and summit all necessary documents required for that criteria.And we got our nomination approved within 8 months.Also departments want me to do skill assessment and it was not clearly mention which skill assessment i had to fo so even my immigration layer was confused so we email case officer about this matter but unfortunately we didnt get any based on the experience we summit additional requirements and my visa was refused saying that you have not done skill assessment.Now i applied to tribunal.What is the possibility to get 457 if i sumbit the skill assessment to tribunal.aCan you please suggest me

        Peng Cheng · April 23, 2019 at 3:51 pm

        Hi Roshan,
        It is possible to obtain and use a skills assessment after lodgement. Please see Contact Us page and in relation to our Consultation Service – feel free to contact us if you need advice in relation to your appeal matter.

        Roshan Giri · April 24, 2019 at 6:41 am

        Hi there,
        Thank you for your response.As i had applied my application before the new rule, am i be able to apply pr through this 457 visa.Can you please suggest me on this.

          Peng Cheng · May 1, 2019 at 4:05 pm

          Sorry but to properly respond to your queries, I’d need to ask some questions and get some information from you.
          Please see Contact Us page and in relation to our Consultation Service – feel free to contact us if you need advice in relation to your visa options.

      Karmjit · April 21, 2019 at 5:21 pm

      Hello sir I got my 457 visa ens applications was refused because of my daughter not meet the health requirements she got meta chromatic leukodrosphy desease in the brain unfortunate there is no treatment for that but now is 16 month we lodge an appeal mrt tribunal can you tell me how long we have to wait more and do I still need to work under same employer I got only bridging visa a and my 457 is finish last year I am so tensed please sir reply

        Peng Cheng · April 23, 2019 at 3:52 pm

        Hi Karmjit,
        The current wait time for the Tribunal is around 18 months. You would need to check your current bridging visa for your work rights.

      Comments are closed.