When a visa application is refused, as a last resort, visa applicants may be able to apply to the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship for Ministerial intervention to grant a visa. Here is our introductory guide to Ministerial interventions.
- The Minister will only intervene in unique and exceptional circumstances. Each case is decided on its merits. To maximise the chances of success, applicants need to show that without Ministerial intervention, there will be serious, ongoing and irreversible harm to an Australian citizen or an Australian family. The Minister will also consider cases where it is in the public interest to intervene. Additionally, there may be compassionate circumstances regarding an applicant’s age or health which, without recognition by the Minister, would result in serious hardship.
- Ministerial intervention is rare.
- The Minister isn’t obliged to consider applications for intervention. Many applications for intervention never make it to the Minister because Immigration officials refuse the application.
- The Minister will not consider the same matter twice.
- Flowing from the above, when applying for intervention, it is crucial to seek advice and prepare a very substantive submission to the Minister, together with all supporting evidence attached. What is the type of supporting evidence that may be necessary? This varies case by case. If the argument is that the applicant is of old age and cannot travel back to their home country due to their ill health, medical specialists’ reports would be necessary, and potentially also information about why medical treatment is not available in the applicant’s home country.
- Generally an applicant needs to have a valid visa. The Minister is very unlikely to consider applications for intervention from “unlawful non-citizens”, that is, from people who no longer hold a visa (or never held one). Applicants who do not hold a valid visa should seek legal advice as to whether it is possible to obtain a bridging visa.
- Before the Minister will consider intervention, there has to be a decision on a visa application, and also a merits review of that decision. So if a visa application has been refused, but a review by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal is still available, the Minister will not intervene.
- It is possible to include family members in the application.
- If an applicant leaves Australia before the Minister makes a decision, the Department of Immigration will finalise the application – i.e. the Minister will not deal with the issue and the application will fail.
- If the Minister decides to intervene, that generally means a visa will be granted.
If you need assistance with applying for Ministerial intervention, please contact us as soon as possible. We will assess your case as a matter of urgency, determine what supporting evidence you require, and advise you about your prospects of success. If we believe that it is possible to get the Minister to intervene in your case, we will draft and submit the application for you, and will correspond with the Department until your case is decided.