Visa refused? | Learn what you can do about it

If you’re reading this page, most likely you’ve had an application refused. Maybe it was a visa, or an application related to a visa such as a nomination. Or maybe it was a citizenship application or an application for the purposes of applying for a visa, like a skills assessment. Whatever the scenario, this page is for those who are wondering what to do next.

It goes without saying, a setback is never a good thing. No reasonable person lodges an application wanting it to be refused. In addition, the process is stressful and time-consuming. Preparing documents and forms, lodging the application and waiting for a decision all take their toll. Then there’s also the expenses such as visa application charges, and fees associated with the application.

Now, more than ever, the assessment criteria for visas have at least one requirement with a highly subjective element attached. Without addressing these requirements at the time of applying, or if you are lucky after receiving a request for further information, can be the difference between an application being approved or refused.

Need some examples? Below are brief summaries of a subjective criterion for a few of the more popular visas:

  • Subclass 600 – Visitor visas: the genuine intention to stay temporarily in Australia and for the purpose for which the visa is granted,

  • Subclass 500 – Student visas: the genuine temporary entrant requirement,

  • Subclass 482 – Temporary Skill Shortage nominations: the position associated with the occupation is genuine,

  • Subclass 482 – Temporary Skill Shortage visas: the genuine intention to work in the occupation,

  • Subclass 186 – Employer Nomination Scheme and subclass 187 – Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme nominations: there is a genuine need for the person to be employed in the position,

  • Subclass 186 – Employer Nomination Scheme and subclass 187 – Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme nominations: the business has the capacity to employ the person for at least 2 years and to pay the person at least the annual market salary rate,

  • Subclass 309/100 – Partner and subclass 820/801 – Partner visas: whether the relationship is a genuine and continuing.

Notice a common theme?

Other common reasons for a visa to be refused is because the applicant has failed a public interest criterion (PIC). The health criterion (PIC 4005 or 4007) is a typical reason parent visas are refused.

Whatever the reason, what you do next depends on more factors than just why.

What you can do next

The reason for refusal is just one issue to consider. What avenues are open to you after receiving a refusal notification depends on many circumstances, including:

  • What application was lodged?

  • Who was the applicant? Was it a business (such as for a nomination) or an individual?

  • Were there other applications subsequently lodged that must now be refused?

  • When was the refusal notice received?

  • Were you in Australia when the application was lodged and if so, are you still in Australia?

Appealing to the Administrative Appeal Tribunal

Working out whether you can or should appeal a refused application to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) is obviously important. The AAT, if it has the powers to review your application, must assess it on its merits, meaning you may have a second opportunity to have the refused application overturned and ultimately be approved if you are successful.

Time, however, is of the essence. There are strict time limits to validly lodge an AAT application if that is what is preferred. Failing to comply with these will mean the AAT does not have the jurisdiction to review your matter, meaning your right to a hearing is lost. It also may be critical because your visa may be about to expire. If this happens, relodging an application may no longer be possible.

The AAT, however, is not the only option, and in some instances, it is not even a good one. There are other important considerations, such as:

  • Was the refusal notification defective?

  • Do you have review rights, or can somebody else be the review applicant?

  • Was there something plainly wrong with the decision?

  • Is there an alternative or better visa available to you?

  • Is it possible to relodge the application or are you barred from doing so?

The strategic elements to consider can be the difference between quick fixes, long-term solutions, potential work arounds, or unfortunately, that you may never be granted that visa.

If you decided to go it alone and lodge your own application without professional assistance, now is not the best time to double-down. The avenues to rectify a refusal may be many, one or none. The prospects of success may be high, low, or non-existent. Only a holistic approach considering your situation, your review rights, and your interests will give you a complete picture of what is available.

The best thing you can do is seek professional advice as soon as the decision has been received. A professional will obviously need to read the refusal notice and understand your situation, but may also need to review the supporting documents you provided with the application and obtain other information.

Peak Migration can assist. With years of experience as a registered migration agent and an AAT advocate, whether you need to know what options you have or require a representative at the AAT, we are here to give you the best advice and assistance possible.  We are proud to demonstrate this with reference to a recently published AAT decision.