Last month we convinced the Assistant Minister for Multicultural Affairs to personally intervene and grant a permanent visa to one of our clients. And in a separate matter, we convinced the Administrative Appeals Tribunal to overturn a previous visa cancellation decision by the Immigration Department.
Success Story #1: Ministerial Intervention
Under Australian migration law, after the Immigration Department makes a decision on a visa application, the visa applicant can seek a review of that decision by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. Once the Tribunal has completed the review, if the decision is still unfavourable, the visa applicant can ask the Minister to personally intervene in the matter.
The Minister has the power to grant any visa, even if the visa applicant does not satisfy the published visa criteria. There is just one problem: it is extremely rare for the Minister to decide to intervene in a matter.
In our case, our client (an Australian Citizen), wanted to secure a permanent visa for his son, who had flown into Australia on a short-term temporary visa. The permanent visa application was refused in the first instance by the Immigration Department, and on appeal also by the Tribunal. That’s when our client engaged us to try and secure intervention by the Minister.
We wrote detailed submissions to the Minister giving reasons as to why our client’s case is exceptional, justifying intervention. We highlighted that even though on a purely technical level, our client did not satisfy all requirements of the visa, the overall intent of Australia’s migration law is to ensure that in a case like this, our client was able to be reunited with his son, who has a bright future ahead of him in this country.
We presented evidence to show that our client and his family are well respected members of the community and that our client’s son has integrated well into society (indeed has already achieved success in sport at representative level).
Success Story #2
We recently represented a client whose visa had been cancelled based on pending criminal charges. The Immigration Department could have waited with the visa cancellation until after the outcome of our client’s criminal case became known, but they didn’t. They cancelled the visa on the basis that our client may be a risk the community.
Our client always maintained that he was innocent and did not present a risk to the community and immediately appealed the visa cancellation to the Tribunal. He was eventually found not guilty.
Interestingly, even after the acquittal, the Tribunal attempted to find out more about the criminal charges. We considered that this was an entirely inappropriate attempt by the Tribunal to revisit matters which have already been adjudicated by the court and we strongly objected to the Tribunal’s questions on this issue.
Eventually, not only has the Tribunal accepted that our client’s visa should not have been cancelled, but they also found that our client never presented a risk to the Australian community.