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Discussion Paper: Community Support Programme
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REFUGEE REVIEW TRIBUNAL
A person claiming to be a refugee or to be entitled to humanitarian protection may apply to the Refugee Review Tribunal (“the RRT”) if the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (“the DIBP”) has refused their protection visa application. The job of the RRT is to decide afresh applications the DIBP has refused – and if the refusal was incorrect, to decide the application in favour of the applicant (subject to other criteria e.g. character criteria).
Applications are usually refused because:
- the application raises one or more complex legal or factual issues which are decided against the applicant;
- insufficient evidence is presented to the Department of Immigration;
- the case wasn’t properly explained to the Department of immigration;
- the claims of the applicant were not believed; or
- a combination of all of these factors.
An applicant only has a limited amount of time to lodge their application and the RRT cannot extend the application period even if the applicant has a strong case. If an applicant is unsuccessful with their initial application, they should therefore consult an experienced immigration lawyer immediately.
Whilst the Federal Court, and ultimately the High Court, can review the legality of the decision making process, an application to the RRT is the last chance to have an independent body decide all the claims for a protection visa on their merits. The potential impact of a negative RRT decision therefore has major consequences.
It is very important that an applicant consult an immigration lawyer with experience in refugee cases for advice about an application to the RRT and about the best way to run the case in the RRT. We have helped many people in their appeals of protection visa and other Humanitarian visas to the RRT. We continue to assist hundreds of people with their review cases and appear at Refugee Review Tribunal (RRT) hearings regularly.
REVIEW OF VISA DECISIONS
If you are not satisfied with a visa decision you receive, you may be able to ask for the decision to be reviewed.
Not all decisions are ‘reviewable decisions’, but the department’s decision-maker will advise you in writing if the decision is reviewable, and what steps you can take if you want to ask for a review.
- Most visa decisions with a right of review are reviewable by the Migration Review Tribunal (MRT).
- Decisions about deportation and citizenship are reviewable by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).
- Decisions on onshore protection visa applications are reviewable by the Refugee Review Tribunal (RRT).
Business-related sponsorships and nominations for temporary business entry visas, and employer nominations for permanent entry, are reviewable by the MRT.
Visitor visa applicants intending to visit Australian citizen/resident relatives may have a review right – again a decision-maker will advise of what review rights are available.
Subclass 200 (refugee) visas cancellations, where the holder is in Australia at the time of cancellation, may also be reviewable by the MRT.
Offshore humanitarian visaapplicants do not have a review right, but applicants for onshore protection visas (using form 866) do have a right of review by the RRT.
The Migration Act 1958 (Cth) and the Migration Regulations specify which decisions the tribunals can review, who may seek review of a decision, how an application for review must be made, the time limits within which applications for review must be lodged, and whether an application fee is payable. The rules vary depending on the type of matter.
The tribunals cannot accept an application for review lodged outside the relevant time limit or which has been lodged by a person who is not entitled to apply for review. Depending on the decision under review, the person applying for review must be the visa applicant, the former visa holder, the sponsor or a close relative.
MRT & RRT PROCESSING TIMES
The MRT and the RRT regularly provide information relating to processing times to applicants. The time taken by the Migration Review Tribunal or the Refugee Review Tribunal to make a decision on your case will depend on a range of factors including:
- The type of case
- When your case is given to a tribunal member to conduct the review.
While cases are generally allocated in priority and date of lodgement order, cases may from time to time be allocated out of order of lodgement as part of a taskforce or targeted approach. Such allocations enable batches of cases raising similar issues to be dealt with more efficiently and allow the tribunals to deal with a greater volume of cases than would otherwise be the case.
The following table gives a guide as to how long it may take based on actual processing times. The table is a guide only and does not guarantee that any individual matter will be heard in these timeframes.
- Bridging refusal average process time is 10 days;
- Visitor refusal average process time is 152 days;
- Student refusal average process time is 392 days
- Temporary work refusal average process time is 453days;
- Permanent business refusal average process time is 509 days;
- Skill linked refusal average process time is 274 days;
- Partner refusal average process time is 454 days;
- Family refusal average process time is 334 days;
- Student cancellation average process time is 246 days;
- Nomination/Sponsor approval refusal average process time is 483 days;
- Protection visa average process time is 250 days;
- Other average process time is 142.
When will my case be given to a tribunal member?
Cases are allocated to members according to priorities set by legislation and in directions issued by the Principal Member.
What happens once my case is with a tribunal member?
Once a case has been allocated to a member, the member will decide how to proceed with the review. For information about the review process and ways you can help ensure your case is handled efficiently see Principal Member Direction Efficient Conduct of Reviews.
Why do cases take so long?
The tribunals have experienced very high levels of lodgements in recent years and have many applications for review. This has impacted on processing times and may continue to do so for some time to come. It is important to note that the time taken to make a decision on your case depends on a number of factors, including when you lodged your application for review, the total number of applications lodged with the tribunals in the same period, the type of decision to be reviewed, the complexity of the case and the average processing time for that type of review.
Can I apply for priority?
RRT cases are automatically allocated priority processing. You may write to the tribunals requesting that your MRT case be considered for priority constitution.
CONTACTS & ADDRESSES FOR THE MRT & RRT
8:30am to 5:00pm on weekdays.
New South Wales Registry
Level 11, 83 Clarence Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Tel: +61 2 9276 5000
Fax: +61 2 9276 5599
GPO Box 1333
Sydney NSW 2001
8:30am to 5:00pm on weekdays.
Level 10, 120 Spencer Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
Tel:+61 3 8600 5900
Fax: +61 3 8600 5801
PO Box 14158
Melbourne VIC 8001
Lodging applications in Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth
Applications for review may also be lodged at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal registries in Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth:
Administrative Appeals Tribunal
Level 11, Chesser House
91 Grenfell Street
Adelaide SA 5000
Administrative Appeals Tribunal
Level 4, Harry Gibbs Commonwealth Law Courts Building
119 North Quay Brisbane QLD 4000
Administrative Appeals Tribunal
Level 5, 111 St Georges Terrace
Perth WA 6000
National telephone enquiry number
Applicants located outside the Sydney or Melbourne metropolitan areas who need help or more information from the tribunals can telephone 1300 361 969. Local call charges apply, more from mobile telephones.
Applicants located outside Australia who need help or more information from the tribunals can telephone New South Wales Registry on 61 2 9276 5000 or Victoria Registry on 61 3 8600 5900. International call charges apply.
The Commonwealth Government, through the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, provides a Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) for people who do not speak English and for English speakers needing to communicate with them. TIS is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Within Australia, telephone 131 450 to contact TIS for the cost of a local call.
From overseas, telephone 61 3 9203 4027 to contact TIS for the cost of an international call.
WHY CHOOSE GMH LEGAL TO REPRESENT YOU IN THE MRT OR RRT
To many the review process can be very daunting. Our registered migration agents and solicitors at GMH Legal are able to use theirs skills and experience in order to assist you to put the best case for review forward.
Our registered migration agents understand the procedural guidelines of the Tribunal and be able to assist in guiding a Member in reaching the best and preferable decision. Our registered migration agents makes use of past Tribunal decisions and refer to case laws in making strong written and oral submissions on behalf of our clients.
We understand receiving a negative decision on a visa can be very distressing, let alone the prospect of having to appear before a Tribunal to present your case. At GMH Legal, our Migration Agents have experience in Review Tribunal representation. We can assist you in the following ways:
- Advise you on the overall process – what to expect on the day, your chances of success, time frames for hearing and decision, etc.
- Advise you on the strict time frames for submitting your application
- Research and submission writing – based on your particular situation, but making reference to previous similar Tribunal (and judicial) decisions
- Appearance and representation at the Tribunal on the day of your Hearing
- Follow-up submissions to the Member as required after the Hearing
- Communications with you and the Tribunal in order to facilitate as smooth a process as possible
If you would like to have your situation assessed, please feel free to contact us to arrange an initial assessment session.
MARA CODE OF CONDUCT
Provision for a Code of Conduct for migration agents is set out in Section 314 of the Migration Act 1958 and is prescribed in Schedule 2, Regulation 8 of the Migration Agents Regulations 1998.
You can read the Code of Conduct for registered migration agents by clicking on this link: Code of Conduct.
Call the experienced team at GMH Legal to assist you in your matter.
A free consultation with GMH Legal is an opportunity to gain deep insights into your legal situation and all of your options.
Why Choose GMH Legal?
- Over 60 years of combined legal experience
- Outstanding track record with a winning approach
- First appointment is always free
- Meet our team now.