If you dream of a life in the land down under and feel that you are perfectly qualified from a migration perspective, you may be incredibly deflated if the Australian government has turned you down. You may receive a notice from them but feel that it is somewhat vague and want to know if you have any recourse to take further action. The good news is that you can apply to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, who may hear your case and might come to a different conclusion. What do you need to know about this process?
The immigration authorities receive hundreds of thousands of individual applications for a variety of different visas in any given year. Each one of these may feature a unique set of circumstances and, understandably, mistakes can sometimes be made. The case officer who processed your application may have made an error of judgement, but their decision is not final by any means.
The Administrative Appeals Tribunal has been set up as an impartial body to hear appeals following refusal from the Immigration Department. This body is completely independent, and its members are typically made up of academics, private lawyers and other people from a range of different backgrounds. If you appear before the Tribunal, they will typically ask you several questions, and you will need to be prepared to give the right answers during the hearing. If need be, you can call witnesses to provide additional information and to help the panel members come to a conclusion.
The Tribunal has a range of powers. They may decide to agree with the original decision or may vary it to a degree. They may send the case back to the Immigration Department and tell them to reconsider, or they may come up with a completely different decision instead.
You will need to be prepared for your meeting and should get help from an experienced immigration lawyer. They can help you to gather the relevant documentation and tell you what you should do during the appointment. They can also lodge the application in the first place and advise you once the decision has been made. If necessary, they can help you to draft additional paperwork to send back to the Immigration Department, and especially if the Tribunal raised some fairly complicated legal issues.
So, don't despair if you have been turned down following your first encounter with the Immigration Department. Get in touch with a lawyer now for further advice.