If you do an AAT appeal yourself without help, there are many things to keep in mind and in this article we discuss 4 fundamental issues you need to consider.
Your prospects of success
The first thing you need to think about is whether you have any realistic prospects of success. You may wish to seek legal advice on this point. If your case has merits, it is worthwhile investing in it both money and time. On the other hand, if your case is certain to be a loser, then you may wish to reconsider whether it’s worthwhile spending upwards of $1700 just in filing fees.
What was wrong with your initial visa application?
As you prepare for the AAT hearing, try and focus your attention on what the Department of Home Affairs said in its decision record about your original application. What is the visa criteria which you did not satisfy? In your appeal, you should get more evidence in relation to that criteria, rather than wasting much time on things which are not even in dispute.
Get the departmental records
As we discussed in other articles, it is crucial that when you file an appeal with the AAT, you obtain the records held by the Department of home affairs in relation to your original visa application. You may find that the Department has made mistakes when they looked at your original application, for example, they may have forgotten to take some crucial evidence into account.
If such a mistake was made, it is important to bring that to the AAT’s attention. You will thereby demonstrate that you are serious about your case, you know the facts, and the department’s contentions should not be accepted because their position is erroneous and not based on evidence.
Finally, remember that evidence is crucial. It is not enough to go to a hearing and make some verbal submissions about why you should be granted a visa. Whenever possible, your position should be backed up by documentary evidence. In some cases it is not possible to provide documentary evidence about a certain issue, but in such a scenario, you should at least provide an explanation as to why documentary evidence could not be obtained. Otherwise, the lack of evidence will be used against you.