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What is the Administrative Appeals Tribunal?
The Tribunal is a statutory body that provides an independent merits review of visa and visa-related decisions made by the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection or by officers of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection acting as delegates of the Minister.
In conducting a review, the Tribunal must consider the case afresh and make a decision that is correct in law. It has the power to overturn decisions and to substitute another decision, or return a case to the Department for reconsideration with directions. The Tribunal is required to provide a review that is fair, just, economical, informal and quick.
Who can apply for review?
The Department of Immigration decision letter should explain whether the decision can be reviewed by the Tribunal and who can apply for review. The Tribunal can only accept an application for review made by a person who has the right to apply for review.
In some cases the only person who can apply for review is the visa applicant or former visa holder, in other cases it can only be the sponsor or a close relative. In some cases the review applicant must be in Australia at the time of decision or at the time the application for review is lodged, or both.
Is there a time limit to apply for review?
The Department of Immigration decision letter should state the time limit that applies to making a review application to the Tribunal. The Tribunal cannot extend time limits or accept applications made out of the the time limit.
How does the Tribunal review process work?
After lodging the review application the Tribunal sends an acknowledgement letter and the case is allocated to a Tribunal member and then a date is set for the hearing, which review applicants are invited to attend.
The Minister and the Department of Immigration are not represented before the Tribunal. The Department is required to provide the Tribunal with all documents which are relevant to the case. Review applicants are entitled to have access to, or a copy of, the material before the Tribunal (although some restrictions may apply).
The Tribunal is required to inform review applicants of certain information that might lead to an adverse decision and to provide applicants with an opportunity to comment on or respond to that information.