Steps to take when your visa gets refused or cancelled

In the last few months, there is an increasing number of temporary visa applications getting refused under the Visitor visa (subclass 600) and Student visa (subclass 500). Visa cancellations also occur as the Department of Home Affairs has the power to cancel visas if there are grounds to do so.

This article intends to give an overview of visa refusals/cancellations and the steps one can take should his/her visa gets refused or cancelled by answering the following questions:

  1. What’s the difference between visa refusal and cancellation?

A visa refusal happens when you have made an application for a visa and is refused by the Department of Home Affairs. Cancellation can occur if you have a valid visa and is cancelled by the Department.

  1. What are the common reasons for visas to be refused?

A visa can be refused if the applicant does not meet the legislative
requirements or the public interest criteria such as health or character
requirements of the visa you are applying for.

Common reasons for refusal for temporary visas, such as student visas and visitor visas, are failing to meet the genuine temporary entrant criteria (that’s when there is not enough evidence to convince the Case Officer about the applicant’s intention of staying temporarily in Australia. Permanent Residency (PR) under the General Skilled Migration (GSM) stream (subclasses 189, 190 and 491) visas are often refused if the applicant has overclaimed points in their Expression of Interest (EOI) or cannot provide evidence of their claims.

Moreover, especially for DIY applications, visas are refused for not meeting the technical legal requirements of the visa, such as not meeting the criteria at the time of application or lodging an incomplete application with the mistaken expectation that Case Officers have the obligation to request for missing information from the visa applicants. Note that Case Officers may request for further information, but they are not required to do so.

  1. What are the common reasons for visas to be cancelled?

The most common reason for temporary visa cancellations is because of breaching visa conditions. For example, students who fail to comply with the work limitation (condition 8105 or 8104) or had their enrolment cancelled due to unsatisfactory attendance (condition 8202) may have their visa cancelled.

Visas can also be cancelled if the Department becomes aware that you have provided false or misleading information or bogus document during a visa application or based on character grounds.

  1. Steps to take when your visa is refused

The first thing to do is to check if you have appeal rights. Most visa
applications lodged while the applicant is in Australia have appeal rights. There are also some visas lodged outside of Australia that can be appealed. For example, the sponsoring relative can appeal for offshore refusal of family visas and visitor visas where a close relative (parent, child, partner, or sibling) is mentioned in the application as the sponsor.

If you have appeal rights, you should review the refusal reasons and your
application if there are grounds for an appeal. For onshore applications, the time limit in applying for an appeal is 21 days from the refusal date. For offshore applications the time limit is 70 days from the refusal date.

If you decide to apply for an appeal at the AAT, you should do so within the time limits. If you are onshore and decided not to apply for an appeal, you should arrange to leave Australia within 35 days from your visa refusal.

  1. Steps to take when your visa is cancelled

Before the Department of Home Affairs decides to cancel your visa, you will first receive a Notice of Intention to Consider Cancellation (NOICC). This letter will show the Department’s grounds for cancellation and the time when you should respond.

When you have responded to the NOICC and the Department carried on with your visa cancellation, you will only have seven working days to file an appeal. However, if the Department decides not to cancel your visa, then your current visa will continue until it expires.

If you decide to apply for an appeal for your visa cancellation, it should lodged within the time limits or arrange to depart from Australia.

To avoid visa refusals/cancellations, make sure you understand all your visa requirements, lodge complete applications with supporting evidence, and ensure that you comply with all your visa conditions.

Migration legislation and regulations can be complex. If in doubt, it is best to consult an Immigration Lawyer or a Registered Migration Agent.

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