UPDATED March 2020
By Joy Hay – Registered Migration Agent MARN 1465325
Lodged a visa appeal and wondering how long it will take?
If you’re planning to appeal a visa decision through the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT), you’ll probably want to know how long your wait will be.
Waiting to have your case heard can be agonising and the length of time that you’ll be in limbo for depends on a number of factors, including the type of case and when your case is given to a decision-maker for review.
One important thing to remember is that whilst you’re waiting for your case to be reviewed, you’ll generally be subject to the same conditions as the visa you’re currently on. If your current visa has work rights, you can continue to work as normal.
The AAT recently published processing times showing the average time for finalising reviews between January 2019 and February 2020. It makes difficult reading for anyone expecting a speedy decision.
According to the statistics released, partner visa decisions take 718 days on average and decisions relating to temporary work visas take 612 days. Bridging visa reviews take an average of 11 days.
The AAT said it had not been able to keep pace with the number of appeals being made with the resources available to it.
When will your case be allocated?
Cases are normally allocated to decision-makers in priority and date order; however, the AAT occasionally takes a targeted approach and singles out batches of certain visa types for early review.
Cases involving people in immigration detention centres are normally given priority. Other high priority cases include protection visa appeals and visa cancellation cases.
Record numbers of visa appeals
Record numbers of visa appeals have been lodged with the AAT over the last year; the natural knock-on effect of an increase in visa refusals.
During the first quarter of the 2018-19 financial year, over 15,800 new applications were received, bringing the number of cases on hand to over 60,000. This is a major increase in AAT processing times, when one considers that in 2015, the number stood at just 22,000.
Ms Sian Leathem, the AAT’s Registrar, discussed this growing backlog during a Senate Estimates hearing in October. Referring to the increase in backlog, she noted that ‘the number of members available to review decisions has not kept pace with the demand’.
A number of strategies are being implemented to curb the backlog and improve AAT processing times, such as efficiency improvements and changes to the way cases are managed. Hopefully these changes will have an impact in the near future.
Wait times during the Covid-19 pandemic
The AAT said it will hear cases over the telephone, where possible, due to restrictions brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. Applications will be triaged and if they’re able to make decisions based on the documents they’ve already received, they’ll do so.
If you’re planning to lodge a visa appeal with the AAT, time is absolutely of the essence. Contact the professionals at True Blue Migration Services today to discuss your case. Call (NSW) 02 8206 8869 (WA) 08 6189 5333 (VIC) 03 9038 9070 or email [email protected] There is no charge for assessments.