AAT Migration and Refugee Division: Tribunal Processing too slow? Priority for review cases.

If your Australian visa has been refused or cancelled and you have applied to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) for review of that decision, you are probably shocked by how long the process takes, with some cases taking 2-3 years or more to be finalised. This can leave couples and families separated or people waiting anxiously to know what their eventual Australian immigration status will be.

Photo of Happy Family

Most review cases are processed in the order they were lodged. But some are given priority and are heard much faster than others: People in immigration detention have the highest priority for their cases to be completed, followed by cases where the Tribunal has to decide if it even has jurisdiction to review the case. These cases are automatically prioritised. But for other cases, if you believe there are compelling reasons why the Tribunal should proceed more quickly with finalising your case, it may be possible to seek priority above other review cases that were lodged at the same time or earlier than yours.

The Tribunal’s Practice Direction explains that “Compelling reasons” refers to cases where both of the following situations apply:
(a) significant difficult circumstances exist in the applicant’s case which are beyond
the difficult circumstances usually experienced by other applicants in the same visa subclass facing comparable processing times, and
(b) prioritising the application is likely to help improve that situation.

Examples of “compelling circumstances” may include, but are
not limited to:

(a) child, orphan relative and adoption visa cases where the primary visa applicant is
under 18 years of age at the time of lodgement of the primary application with the
(b) continued separation of a child under 18 years from their parent, guardian or carer
(c) subclass 300 cases where the review applicant and the primary visa applicant
marry after the primary decision but before the review is finally determined
(d) an accident, illness or medical condition affecting an applicant’s health such that it
would be unreasonable to prolong the review process
(e) cases where long delays in the review application being constituted and
considered would result in the review applicant no longer being eligible for the
visa applied for, even if the primary decision were to be set aside.

If you believe that you may have “compelling circumstances” for having your case for review of an Australian migration decision given priority, you may wish to write to the Tribunal explaining the circumstances and providing evidence to support your reasons. If you require advice about this or assistance writing to the Tribunal about seeking priority, or with your review case, then please contact us to discuss how we can help you.

Michele Clayton

Lawyer NSW 55486

Migration Agent Registration Number 0957773



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