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How to Migrate to Australia

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Do you need advice on leaving and entering Australia during COVID? Contact Alan and the team today: 02 9635 5333


Work Prospects

Australia needs skilled workers to fill positions in both city and regional areas.
Australian immigration rules can be complex so you should get advice about how to get Australian permanent residence or an Australian work visa.
At present – especially as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic - Engineers, Nurses, Tradespersons, Chefs, Teachers, Social workers and Community workers are skills that are in demand in Australia.
Start a Home SearchDepending on the Australian permanent residence or the Australian work visa granted, you could potentially live anywhere in Australia.
Australia offers many options, and you may wish to live in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth or Brisbane.
Alternatively, you may want to live in a designated regional area. If you have a relative in a designated area, you may be granted a visa if they are prepared to sponsor you.
If you plan on settling in Australia permanently, you should get immigration advice and assistance to help you find the right visa for you.
Applying for a VisaEach visa has different requirements to be met. A visa that is suitable for one person, may not be suitable for another.
You may want to visit Australia as a tourist, a student, a backpacker, or as an entrepreneur. You may even want to move and settle in Australia permanently. In all cases, you have to make a definitive choice as to how you plan on legally staying in Australia. 
The Australian border is scheduled to shortly open to over 200,000 temporary visa holders. In the upcoming period Australia will also open its borders for international travel and tourism via travel bubble arrangements with Singapore, Japan and South Korea.
Therefore, before moving to Australia and achieving your goals you must get immigration advice and assistance from an immigration law or migration agent.
Getting a Visa and MovingThe visa process consists of the following steps:a. Assessing your eligibility for the visa.b. Collecting all the necessary documents in support of the visa application.c. Applying for the visa and paying the visa application charge.d. undertaking character and health checks.
Once your visa is granted you can then make arrangements to fly to Australia.
ConclusionAustralian immigration rules that change on a regular basis.
Therefore, before you apply for any type of Australian visa, it is important for you to get advice on your visa options, ensure that all your documents are in order and that you have completed the correct application form and paid the correct visa application charge.
Contact one of our migration agents or lawyers to discuss your Australian permanent residence plans.

Immigration Lawyer vs Migration Agent

Should I use a migration agent or immigration lawyer?So, you have made the big decision to move to Australia, maybe to work, study or just to experience Australia’s beautiful beaches and landscape. An important question that comes up at this stage is – how do you go about finalising your paperwork to achieve your goal?
The next step in the process to migrate to Australia is to find an advisor who has the expertise and knowledge to guide you through the immigration process and to make the visa application process easy for you.
It is perfectly acceptable to lodge your own application, however consulting an expert will increase your prospects of success.
As the decision to migrate to Australia is a life-changing experience, making the choice about who to consult is an important step in the process.
You need to be aware of the fact that there are important differences between immigration lawyers and migration agents, some of which are not always clear to those seeking migration assistance.
It is important to remember that whether you choose to work with a migration agent or an immigration lawyer, always ensure they provide their Migration Agent Registration Number (MARN) or their Legal Practitioner Number (LPN), so you can be sure that you are working with someone who is skilled, legitimate and trustworthy.
In Australia, only an immigration lawyer or migration agent can provide immigration advice and assistance. There are five factors that you should consider when you decide which type of immigration expert you are to engage:
QualificationsMigration agents are required to:
● Complete a Graduate Diploma in Australian Migration Law and Practice and pass the Capstone assessment; and● Apply to be registered with OMARA.
Immigration lawyers are required to:● Complete at least a Bachelor of Laws degree (a minimum 3-year qualification); and● Undertake practical legal training and work experience; and● Apply to the Supreme Court for admission as a lawyer; and● Apply to the Legal Practice Board of the State for a Practicing Certificate; and● Apply to the Department of Home Affairs to receive an LPN
Level of knowledge and skills
Immigration law is an extremely complicated area in which the complex legislative and regulatory requirements governing the immigration framework are constantly evolving. Immigration law operates against a backdrop of extensive legislation, immense policy guidelines and Ministerial directions.

Choosing a migration expert with a legal qualification may prove critical in order to achieve the best outcome for your application.  

Claiming legal professional privilege
An extremely important distinction between migration agents and immigration lawyers surrounds the concept of ‘legal professional privilege’. While a migration agent is required to keep communication between themselves and a client confidential, only a lawyer can claim legal professional privilege.

This means that an immigration lawyer cannot disclose any of your details or communications to the Department of Home Affairs, even if they are requested to do so. However, any information you supply to a migration agent is not protected by legal professional privilege, and thus a migration agent may be compelled to disclose advice provided to you and information about you that an immigration lawyer would not be bound to provide.

Standards of conduct
Migration agents are subject to:

● the OMARA code of conduct.Immigration lawyers are subject to:
● the Legal Profession Act; and● the Legal Professional Conduct Rules; and● the Law Society Ethical and Practice Guidelines.
Extent of service
The services provided in migration matters initially relate to advice on visa options and processes, however in many cases advice and assistance concerning merits reviews and appeals to Tribunals and Courts is required.

Migration agents
While a migration agent can assist you in the visa application process and appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) in relation to a cancellation or refusal decision, certain matters require an appeal to be made to the Commonwealth Courts of Australia. If this is the case, a migration agent may not be able to effectively assist you with the court process and you will then need to seek the services of an immigration lawyer.

Immigration lawyers
An immigration lawyer is able to provide the same services as a migration agent, in addition to these services an immigration lawyer can assist you with court appeals and more complex migration issues including visa cancellations and character issues.

Migration law is ever changing and complex in nature. As such receiving sound legal advice and representation is critical to ensuring a visa outcome.

If you are interested in moving to Australia, the immigration lawyers at Alan Rigas Solicitors are qualified and experienced Immigration Lawyers. The team at Alan Rigas are experts in the field and will provide you with comprehensive legal advice on your migration matter, as well as on a range of matters related to the migration process.

Australian Employer Sponsored Visas

Employer-sponsored visas allows Australian employers to sponsor overseas employees to work for them in Australia. There are both permanent residence visa options and also temporary visa options.
Australia – Work Visa Options include: Employer Nomination Scheme (Subclass 186) Temporary Skill Shortage visa (Subclass 482) Temporary Activity Visa (Subclass 408) Training Visa (Subclass 407) Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme Visa (Subclass 187) Skilled Regional (Provisional) Visa (Subclass 489) Temporary Work (International Relations) Visa (Subclass 403)
It is important that both the employer and the visa applicant have a clear understanding of the regulations that govern permanent and temporary work visas. Even the slightest error in the application or breach of a visa condition may result in a visa refusal or visa cancellation.
Being sponsored by an Australian employer is a good way to achieve Australian permanent residence or an Australian work visa.
Employer-Sponsored Visa allows you to:
● Depending upon the visa subclass and occupation, work in Australia for up to four years and then transition to Australian permanent residence; and● Bring your family to work or study in Australia; andTravel in and out of Australia as often as you wish.

General Skilled Migration

The General Skilled Migration Pathway is for skilled individuals who are looking to permanently migrate to Australia. This pathway is designed to assist in filling skill shortages in Australia.
Visas within the General Skilled Migration program are points tested and can be acquired either independently or with the assistance of a State / Territory sponsorship or by way of family-sponsorship.
To be eligible to apply for one of the visas in this class the visa applicants occupation must be listed in the corresponding Skilled Occupation List.
Visa subclasses in this pathway to Australian permanent residence include:
Skilled Independent Visa (Subclass 189)● The 189 Visa is a points-tested permanent visa for skilled workers who are not sponsored by an Australian employer, family member or nominated by a state or territory.● Applicants must typically obtain a minimum of 65 points on the point assessment to be eligible to apply for the Skilled Independent visa (Subclass 189).● To apply for this visa, an applicant must have submitted and expression of interest (EOI) with the department, have been invited by the department to apply for the visa, have a positive Skills Assessment of their qualification and skills and evidence of their work experience and other claimed points in the associated points test.● Upon receiving an invitation to apply for this visa, you have 60 days to submit your application.● Once the Skilled Independent (Subclass 189) Visa has been granted, the visa holder and accompanying family members are able to live, work and study in Australia as permanent residents.

Skilled Nominated Visa (Subclass 190)
● The Skilled Nominated Visa is a points-tested permanent visa for skilled workers who are nominated by an Australian State or Territory government.
● Applicants must typically obtain a minimum of 65 points on a points assessment to be eligible to apply for a Skilled Nominated Visa (Subclass 190) and must be nominated by a participating State or Territory government in Australia.
● To apply for this visa, an applicant must have submitted and expression of interest (EOI) with the department, have been invited by the department to apply for the visa, have a positive Skills Assessment of their qualification and skills and evidence of their work experience and other claimed points in the associated points test.
Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visa (Subclass 491)● The Skilled Regional Visa is designed to encourage skilled workers to live and work is specified regional parts of Australia for up to five years.● Applicants must be sponsored by an Australian relative who is living in a designated area, or by a State or Territory government.● Applicants must typically obtain a minimum of 65 points on a points assessment to be eligible to apply for a Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visa (Subclass 491.● To apply for this visa, an applicant must have submitted and expression of interest (EOI) with the department, have been invited by the department to apply for the visa, have a positive Skills Assessment of their qualification and skills and evidence of their work experience and other claimed points in the associated points test.

Applying for a Partner Visa

Relocating to Australia under the family-stream of visas is an option for people that have family in Australia.
As far as partner and spouse options are concerned, there are three (3) types of visa namely: ● Offshore Partner visa (subclass 309 and 100); or● Onshore Partner Visa (subclass 820 and 801); or● Prospective Marriage Visa (subclass 300).

Partner Visa (subclasses 309 and 100 & Subclasses 820 and 801)These visa types allows the partner or spouse of an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen to live in Australia with their Australian partner.
To be eligible for these visa you must be in a genuine relationship with your spouse or de facto partner who is an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen.
If you live separate and apart from your partner, you must demonstrate to the Department of Home Affairs that you live apart on a temporary basis only and that you are committed to a shared life together.
Partner (Provisional/Temporary) Visa: Subclass 309 or 820
These are temporary visas which let the applicant once granted live in Australia until the associated permanent visa is determined.

The applicant for a subclass 309 visa must be located outside of Australia when applying for this visa and they must also be outside of Australia at the time a decision on the visa is made.

The visa applicant for a subclass 820 visa can be in Australia at time of application and time of decision.

Visa processing times can be between 18-27 months. However, the submission of a detailed and comprehensive application may assist to reduce the processing time of the visa.

● Partner (Migrant/Permanent) Visa: Subclass 100 or 801
These are permanent visas permitting indefinite stay in Australia. These visas can be approved two (2) years after the 309 or 820 visa has been lodged, provided the relationship between the applicant and sponsor remains genuine and ongoing.

Prospective Marriage Visa (subclass 300)
The Prospective Marriage Visa subclass 300 allows an applicant to come to Australia to marry their Australian fiancé and then apply for a Partner visa.

This visa is valid for a period of nine (9) months from the date of grant and enables the visa holder to enter Australia to marry and apply for a partner visa within the visa period.

Additionally, it allows the visa holder to work and study (at their own expense) in Australia. The applicant must be 18 years or older, be sponsored, and must intend to marry their prospective spouse before their visa expires.

The processing time for this visa type is anywhere between 28 to 35 months. Once married, and within the 300 visa validity period, the applicant and sponsor must prepare and lodge the Partner Visa 820 / 801.

Nothing stops a visa applicant marrying their fiancé prior to the grant of the prospective marriage visa. If the couple marry, the couple should provide evidence of the marriage to the Department and they should then request for the prospective marriage visa application to be converted to a partner visa application.

Applying for a Parent Visa

There are several different types of visa options for parents that want to spend time with their children in Australia on a temporary or permanent basis.
Australian Citizens, Permanent Residents, and eligible New Zealand citizens can sponsor their parents to live with them in Australia provided they can satisfy the visa criteria.
Parent Visa CategoriesThere are currently six (6) classes of parent visas which fall into two (2) major categories – non-contributory and contributory. They may also be classified on the basis of an applicant’s age; and temporary and permanent residence.
Due to the “cap and queue” restrictions on non-contributory parent visas which limit the number of visas that can be processed in a given year, processing times for these visas can vary anywhere between 25 to 30 years.● While contributory parent visas have much shorter processing times, allowing for more feasible options, they are much more expensive when compared to the non-contributory parent visas.● The advantage of non-contributory visas is that the costs are significantly lower. However, the aforementioned ‘cap and queue’ arrangement indicates that there can be significant delay prior to considering the applications, due to the low number of places allocated each program year.Despite the above, if you are onshore – i.e. in Australia – at the time of application lodgement, you may be granted a Bridging Visa in which to remain lawfully whilst the application is processed regardless of the time it takes to be finalised.● Applicants may also consider first applying for a temporary parent visa before transitioning to a permanent parent visa, so as to stagger the costs of the fees payable to the Department of Home Affairs into manageable amounts. 
Australian Parent visa eligibility criteria If you meet the requirements below, you might be eligible to apply for a parent visa however please note it is important to receive specific advice before proceeding with an application:● You have a sponsor (most likely your child though this can, in some instances, be someone else).● You have a child who is an Australian permanent resident, Australian citizen or an eligible New Zealand citizen.● Your child is “settled” and has been usually resident and living lawfully in Australia before your visa application is lodged.● There are special requirements to be met for a sponsor under the age of 18.
If your child or step-child has not yet turned 18, someone else may act as a sponsor as long as they are 18 years old or over and are settled in Australia either as a permanent resident, Australian citizen or an eligible New Zealand citizen.
This could include:- a live-in partner (or spouse) of your child or step-child; or- someone who is a relative or guardian of your child or step-child; or- someone who is a relative or guardian or the live-in partner (or spouse) of your child or step-child; or- a community organization.
● You must meet the criteria for the Balance of Family test (explained below).● An assurance of support (AOS) will be required for any applicants applying for a permanent parent visa.The AOS is a legal commitment from an individual or organisation stating that they will give you financial support so you do not have to solely rely on social security payments. This assurance will include you and anyone else included in your visa application (such as, family members).● The AOS can be provided by your sponsor (person or organisation) or someone else who is currently an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen. A joint AOS can also be given, with up to three (3) people included to assist you with your migration to Australia.● The visa applicants meeting health and character requirements
Family Sponsorship Australia informationYou must have a sponsor to apply for a parent category visa in order to migrate and live in Australia as a permanent or temporary resident.
Your sponsor needs to be an Australian permanent resident, Australian citizen or eligible New Zealand citizen who:● is 18 years old or over; and● has resided in Australia legally for at least 2 years prior to the parent lodging their visa application
Balance of family testIf you are a parent applying for a parent category visa, you must meet the balance of family test.
This test was designed to determine the degree of your links to Australia.
You will meet the requirements for the balance of family test if:1. At least a minimum half of your children live permanently in Australia; and2. You have more children living in Australia than anywhere else.
Age CriteriaAn ‘aged parent’ is one who is old enough to be granted an Australian age pension.
However, there is a waiting period of ten (10) years before you can receive the Australian age pension (unless there is a reciprocal agreement with another country which pays you a pension).
Options to Migrate or visit Australia - if you are outside Australia- Parent Visa (Subclass 103)- Contributory Parent (Temporary) Visa (Subclass 173)- Contributory Parent (Migrant) Visa (Sublcass 143)- Sponsored Parent 870 Visa
Options to Migrate – if you are inside Australia- Aged Parent (Residence) Visa (Subclass 804)- Contributory Aged Parent (Temporary) Visa (Subclass 884)- Contributory Aged Parent (Residence) Visa (Subclass 864)

Applying for a Working Holiday Visa

Am I eligible for a Working Holiday Visa (WHV) in Australia?If you are a citizen of a recognised country and aged anywhere between 18 and 30 (or 18 to 35 for citizens of Canada, France and Ireland) then you may be eligible for a WHV.
Passport holders from the following countries may be eligible: Belgium; Canada; Republic of Cyprus; Denmark; Estonia; Finland; ● France; ● Germany; Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (including British National Overseas passport holders); Republic of Ireland; Italy; Japan; Republic of Korea; Malta; Netherlands; Norway; Sweden; Taiwan (other than an official or diplomatic passport); and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
What is the age limit?Whether you are applying for your First or Second Working Holiday visa (subclass 417), you need to be aged between 18 and 30 (unless you’re a citizen of Ireland, France or Canada – then you have until the age of 35).
If you apply for the visa when you’re still 30, but turn 31 before the application has been approved, the visa may still be granted.
Similarly, Canadian, French and Irish citizens who apply at 35 and turn 36 while their application is outstanding may still have their visa approved.
What should I know before I start? All documents you attach to your WHV application must be in English. Those that aren’t, have to be supplied with an accredited translation that includes the translator’s details and, where possible, official stamp. You’ll need clear, colour scans or photographs of each of supporting document. If a document has more than one (1) page, it should be saved and attached as a single file.
How long until I get a response?
Many applications are processed within 85 days and most within four (4) months, but it can take longer if you don’t provide correct information in the online or forget to attach the appropriate documents.

If the Department of Home Affairs needs to verify your information or get more details from you, it can take longer for the application to be processed.

Once your visa has been granted, you will have twelve (12) months in which to travel to Australia.

How much does it cost?
When you apply for your WHV, you’ll have to pay AUD $495 (plus the Department of Home Affairs CC surcharge). There may be extra costs relating to health checks, police certificates or biometrics (facial photograph and fingerprints).


How much money do I need to save?
You should have savings equivalent to approximately AUD $5,000.00 – be prepared to show proof of the funds you have in your bank account or access to as part of the WHV application process. On top of your savings, you should have a return air ticket or sufficient funds to pay for a flight home.


How long can I stay?
A WHV allows you to stay in Australia for a period of up to twelve (12) months from the day you enter the country. You can either stay for the entire twelve (12) months or leave and re-enter as many times as you like during that period.


What are the relevant healthcare requirements?
If you are applying for a WHV from a country with a high risk of tuberculosis, you may need to undergo a medical examination and chest X-ray.

Ultimately, you are responsible for any health debts and costs you incur whilst you are visiting Australia.

Australia’s public healthcare system, Medicare, has reciprocal agreements with some countries such as Belgium, Finland, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Ireland, Slovenia, Sweden, and the UK, that will cover the costs of care from illness or injury that can’t wait until you return home however you may wish to consider taking out a private health insurance policy for your trip to Australia.
What are the work restrictions and requirements?
The WHV is designed to allow you to take on short-term trips and casual jobs to fund your travel and help you pay for your holiday.

For the most part, you can stay in one (1) job for a maximum of six (6) months, although this can be extended with special permission.

Can I extend my working holiday visa?
You can apply to stay for an additional year in Australia with an extension on your WHV if you have undertaken at least three (3) months of specified work in approved industries including plant and animal cultivation, fishing and pearling, tree farming and felling, mining and construction, as well as meet all relevant character and health requirements.

Applying for a Visitor Visa

Do you want to visit Australia for tourism or see friends and family? If yes! Then an Australian short-term tourist visa or a visitor visa might be the right solution for you.
We have requisite knowledge and experience in finding the right visa for you, and in keeping with the same we will give you the best advice so you can get a golden opportunity to visit and explore Australia. 
What Type of Tourist Visa Should I Apply For?If you wish to visit Australia for less than three (3) months, you have several available options.
Here are the most popular short-term visas: Electronic Travel Authority Visa or ETA (Subclass 601).The ETA is valid for one (1) year and is a multiple entry visa that allows you to stay in Australia for three (3) months each time you visit the country.To be eligible for the ETA, you must be a passport-holder from a specific country or region (Brunei, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, United States) etc. Please note this list can be changed/updated at any time. ● eVisitor Visa (Subclass 651).This multiple entry visa allows you to stay in Australia for up to three (3) months at a time within 12 months. Holders of passports from Europe and some other countries are eligible to apply.● Visitor Visa (Subclass 600)A visitor visa is an ideal option for those who are not eligible for the ETA or an eVisitor. This visa allows you to stay in Australia for three (3), six (6), or twelve (12) months for tourism or business-related purposes.● Temporary Parent Visa (Subclass 870)
This visa permits parents who are living overseas to reunite with their children in Australia for between three (3) and five (5) years.
It is possible to extend your stay and apply for a further visa for visiting up to a maximum period of ten (10) years.
Whilst holding this visa, you are not allowed to work.
Although the Balance of Family Test will not apply to this visa, please note that the Australian sponsor (i.e., the child) will need to apply first to become an approved sponsor. Thereafter, parent-applicants can apply for the visa itself.
Australian Tourist Visa Application Requirements:To be eligible for the ETA or eVisitor you need to be free of tuberculosis and criminal convictions. In most cases, the required documentation is streamlined and will typically consist of the following items:
● A valid passport from a particular country; and● An email address; and● Your contact details in Australia / overseas.
If you do not qualify for an ETA or an eVisitor, you must apply for a Visitor Visa (Subclass 600).
The documentation required for this visa is more detailed, and may include the following:● Your passport biodata page photocopy; and● One recent photograph (45mmx35mm); and● Copy of your national ID; and● Evidence of ties to your country of residence; and● Proof of adequate personal funds; and● Evidence of current employment; and● Evidence that you will depart Australia prior to the end of your visa.

Work in Australia as a New Zealand citizen

Which Visa Do NZ Citizens Hold in Australia?NZ citizens are generally granted the Special Category Visas automatically upon entry to Australia.
The Special Category Subclass 444 Visa allows New Zealand citizens to stay in Australia indefinitely and work full time in Australia.
However, New Zealand citizens holding special category visas are considered temporary residents only and not permanent residents.
In general, they are not automatically eligible to become Australian citizens unless they apply for, and become a permanent resident first of all, before meeting the citizenship residency requirements thereafter.
How Long Does a Special Category Visa Last?New Zealand citizens can remain in Australia on a special category visa indefinitely. Upon departure from Australia, this visa will cease.
Work Rights for NZ Citizens in AustraliaHolders of Special Category Subclass 444 Visas have unrestricted work rights in Australia and can work full time, as well as access limited support from the Australian government including Medicare.
Dependents of New Zealand Citizens in AustraliaSpouses and children of New Zealand citizens are not eligible for special category visas unless they are NZ citizens themselves.
NZ citizens can sponsor their family members for a New Zealand Citizen Family Visa, Subclass 461. Once granted, this visa will remain in effect for five (5) years and permit full work rights, study rights and travel rights.
Risk of Cancellation for New Zealand Citizens in AustraliaNZ citizens have increasingly been subject to cancellation due to character issues, despite having lived in Australia for many years.
NZ citizens are now the largest single nationality in immigration detention; therefore, it is important to take note of the fact that even people who reside indefinitely in Australia can still face visa cancellation and removal from the country.
If you are an NZ citizen residing in Australia since at least February 2001, it may be in your best interests to apply for Australian citizenship.
Further Visa Options for Special Category Visa HoldersSome New Zealand citizens seek to apply for permanent residence as it can lead to Australian citizenship and full eligibility for social security benefits.
Examples of permanent visas NZ citizens often apply for include:● General Skilled Migration● Employer Nomination Scheme● Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme
In some instances, the migration legislation enables concessions to NZ citizens in Australia under the Employer Nomination Scheme.

AAT Merits Review Process

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) is comprised of two (2) divisions that review decisions made by Federal Government Departments, namely:
1. The Migration and Refugee Division – This division of the AAT is responsible for reviewing the majority of visa refusal and cancellation decisions made by the Department of Home Affairs.2. The General Division – This division of the AAT is responsible for reviewing the majority of character-related visa decisions under s501 of the Act as well as citizenship refusals.
The AAT is able to review matters that relate to decisions across many migration matters including bridging visas, family visas, nomination/sponsor applications, partner visas, permanent business visas, skilled visas, student visas, temporary work visas, some visitor visas, humanitarian visa categories and citizenship. The key is that the decision to be reviewed is a reviewable decision as defined in the Migration Act 1958.
It is important to understand that the AAT does not review decisions relating to fast-track protection visas including the SHEV and TPV. These decisions are often reviewed and determined by the Immigration Assessment Authority (IAA).
As part of the merits review process, the AAT will assess:● Documentation, evidence, forms and other records held by the Department of Home Affairs; and● Submissions or evidence submitted by you to the AAT as part of the review process; and● Evidence and testimony supplied during the course of your hearing
If, during this review process, the AAT is made aware of any adverse information against you, or anyone involved in the merits review matter, you will be notified in writing and asked to comment on this information.
There are typically seven (7) stages to the AAT merits review process, including:
1. Lodge your review application with the AAT
Depending upon the decision to be reviewed, you must lodge your merits review application with the AAT in as little as two (2) days. Most visa refusals, onshore, must be lodged within twenty-one (21) days, and sponsored visa refusals offshore can be lodged within seventy (70) days.

In order to ensure that the merits review application is submitted on time and received by the AAT, the best way to lodge your application is online.

The only time an application should be lodged manually – i.e. via post or email – is if you intend to request a 50% fee reduction. Such applications cannot be lodged online at this stage. You

2. The AAT issues you a confirmation / acknowledgment of application
You may need to use the AAT acknowledgment as part of a Bridging Visa E application.

3. You commence preparing for your AAT review hearing, including
● Preparing a statement outlining the various aspects of your case; and● Obtaining supporting evidence such as medical reports, letters of support etc; and● Identify people who could be witnesses
4. The AAT issues you an in invitation to attend a hearing
Prior to the hearing the AAT may also ask you for further information or certain documents to help complete their assessment of your appeal. In some instances, a positive decision can be made on this documentation which removes the need to attend a hearing.

Even if the AAT does not request it, we recommend providing the AAT with a written submission, statutory declaration and any other supporting evidence you wish to rely upon.

When you receive the hearing invitation letter you should complete it and return to the AAT within seven (7) days. At this stage, you confirm with the AAT if you need an interpreter for the hearing as well as provide details of any witnesses you may plan to bring.

5. You attend the AAT hearing
The AAT hearing is an important opportunity to explain your circumstances in person and to answer any questions the Tribunal member may have.

Your migration lawyer or migration agent may also provide legal arguments at the end of the hearing in support of your case, but he / she cannot answer the questions posed by the Tribunal member.

6. The AAT may request further documentation and / or information
A times, the AAT will ask for further information after the hearing based on issues that were raised. This may include medical reports, letters of support or other documents. Typically, a short of period of time is permitted for the provision of this additional paperwork.

7. The AAT males a decision on you review application
When assessing your case, the AAT will undertake a review of all of the facts of your matter, including new information and the reasons behind the original decision made by the Department of Home Affairs.

In some cases, a decision may be given on the spot at the hearing however this is uncommon, and it is likely you will receive the decision after the hearing. There is no set timeframe for making a decision so receiving the final determination from the AAT can take several months.

If the AAT makes a decision in your favour, the matter will be remitted back the Department of Home affairs where they will typically either revoke the visa cancellation or grant the refused visa.

If your immigration appeal is unsuccessful, you may be able to further appeal the matter to the Federal Circuit Court of Australia or seek Ministerial Intervention depending upon your circumstances and advice obtained.

We are here to help
The material included in this article is designed and intended to provide general information in summary on various Migration topics in Australia, which is current at the time of publication, for general informational purposes only.
The contents do not constitute legal advice and are not intended to be a substitute for legal advice and should not be relied upon as such.
Migrating to Australia can be overwhelming for some. A solicitor can assist and guide you to meet the legal requirements of migrating to Australia.
Contact our office to speak with one of our lawyers who can help guide you through the process and assist you with Migrating to Australia and help you maximise the prospects of your application being successful.

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