Not all lodged visa applications get granted. Do not think that if you have lodged and paid for the visa fees, you can get your visa application approved. Based on the Department of Home Affairs’ Student Visa Grant Rates report (source: https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/research-and-statistics/statistics/visa-statistics/study), 20% of student visa applications were refused this financial year (from June 2019 to November 2019).
This article intends to give an overview on what are the steps you should take when you get a visa refusal.
- Get a copy of your decision record and identify the reasons why your visa was refused.
If you lodged your visa yourself, you should be able to get the decision record along with your visa refusal from the Department of Home Affairs. If you asked assistance with your visa application, make sure your agent sends you your decision record.
- Seek legal advice.
If you cannot understand the contents of your decision record, it is best to get the visa and appeal experts (Registered Migration Agents or Immigration Lawyers) lay it all down for you and ask for options available. The usual options are: apply for appeal through the Administrative Appeal Tribunal (if you have review rights), apply for the same visa again (if you think you have a chance of getting the next visa approved), apply for another type of visa (if you are eligible for this), or look for other countries where you can apply for visa based on your objective/s.
- Determine if you have appeal rights or not.
Most visa applications lodged while you are in Australia should have review rights. Some visa applications lodged outside of Australia can also have review rights, for example, the internship visa 407 and the Temporary Skills Shortage 482 visa have review rights. Other sponsored visas have review rights as well.
- Be mindful of the time of lodgement requirement with the Tribunal, and the appeal processing time.
Most reviewable decisions have a 21 day application timeframe. This means that your appeal application should be lodged with the AAT within 21 days from the time you received your visa refusal decision.
AAT’s current review process can take between 10 days (for Bridging Visas) to 679 days (for Partner Visas) depending on the type of visa you are appealing for. You can get the list of AAT’s processing lead time per visa subclass on the link below:
- Weigh your options carefully and go for the option that is consistent with your objective. Revisit your objective when you applied for your visa and think deeply if applying for an appeal is worth your time and the money you have already spent on your visa application. Applying for an appeal in AAT can take up to 22 months. You are allowed to stay in Australia (if you are on shore) while your appeal is in progress but you might not have work rights (this would depend on the visa you held when you applied for the visa that was refused). The great thing about going through the appeals process is if the decision handed is in your favour, you wouldn’t have to pay for visa fees again to the Department of Home Affairs and you get half of the AAT appeal fee as a refund. You can get the current AAT fees on the link below:
Getting a visa refusal is a serious matter as it can affect the next Australian visa that you plan to apply for in the future. It is best that you take necessary actions to avoid getting a visa refusal (making sure you provide quality and consistent information to the Department of Home Affairs on your visa application) or if you already have a refusal, make sure you discuss your case with a Registered Migration Agent or Immigration Lawyer to know and understand your options.