Visa Refusal

Has your visa been refused?

Generally, people can challenge administrative decisions made by the Department of Home Affairs. This includes decisions to refuse or cancel a visa.

These appeals are generally made to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) first for the Tribunal Member to consider the case afresh. Your matter will be redecided based on the documents and facts presented before the Tribunal Member. Therefore, based on the reasons for their decision, we are able to generate a strategy targeting the specific issues and points raised by the Departmental Officer.

In some circumstances, there may have been a legal issue (including issues of procedural fairness, failure to consider relevant points etc.) which are more appropriate to be challenged under judicial review at a legal forum such as the Federal Circuit Court of Australia or Federal Court of Australia.

Regardless of the issue, appeals can be quite complex. Therefore, our experienced immigration lawyers are available to assist you with your recently received negative decision.

what we can do

Many people choose to lodge their own visa applications thinking it will be quite straightforward. However, the laws are always changing and the application of the legal requirements can be quite complicated, even for a us. If your visa has been refused, do not worry. This is where we come in. 


A free online assessment will allow us to get to know more about you and your situation. We will team you up with a lawyer that best suits you and your needs. We will commence by gathering as much information from you. Get in touch with us using the form below now. You can also email us your refusal notification immediately. We will go through all your material including the decision letter before advising you on the best strategy. A lot of the times, you may have just inadequately addressed some legal requirements. 


We’ve been practising immigration law for many years and we are known for being creative. Sometimes it may simply be easier to win a case if we re-lodge an application in a different subclass or stream. Whatever it may be, at Agape, we will analyse your situation and your needs to devise a migration plan that will best be able to achieve your needs. 

We will come up with many different possibilities and will help you decide on the best pathway by considering costs, time, prospects of success etc. 


Let Agape be the solution. Many people think that a visa application is rather straightforward. However, statistics show that a large majority of refusals are due to applicants not understanding and addressing all the legal requirements for a visa grant. Australian immigration law is extremely complex and always changing. Even the Department's officers are under trained. Our lawyers provide proactive solutions specific to each visa refusal and will guide our Clients in building the strongest case to present. 

Leave this in our hands. 

Some of the things that can be done are:

 Lodge a complaint to the Department. 

  1. Make an application for merits review to the Tribunal.

  2. Apply judicial review at the Courts to defeat a wrong decision to refuse your visa.

  3. Request the Minister for Immigration to exercise his powers to intervene.

  4. Lodge another visa (either before refusal or after refusal).

Whatever you decide to do, there may be strict time limitations that apply. Once you run out of time, your options will be limited with additional costs. Contact us immediately so we can devise the best tactical approach in your circumstance. 


Click on the plus sign to reveal answers to FAQs.

+ 1. How long will the visa be granted for?

Generally, the most appropriate method is to appeal the refusal decision to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). They are an independent body constituted of members appointed by the Governor General. All members of the AAT are either former judges, experienced lawyers or persons with specific legal and immigration background. So you actually have a better chance of winning at appeal.

Other options you have include applying for a different visa subclass (limited options available), applying for judicial review, seeking ministerial intervention, making a formal complaint etc.

All options have its own pros and cons, and different costs. So it's best to discuss with one of our experienced lawyers to find your best solution.

+ 2. Do I still have a chance to win?

The Department is constantly under-staffed and the case officers lack proper training. We have seen MANY decisions that have been incorrectly made and case officers not following proper legal procedures. These are all points that we can use to win at review.

However, we will still need to look at your case and the reason for refusal before we can provide you with an accurate opinion. So contact us now for more information.

+ 3. Is appeal expensive?

Depending on the pathway you decide on, the costs will vary. Appealing to the AAT is generally less costly than appealing to the courts (judicial review).

Our professional legal costs for appeal generally start from $3,000+ (plus GST), and will change depending on the complexity of the case.

Book in an appointment with us to discuss your options and to find out the exact costs involved.

+ 4. Do I need to find a migration agent or an immigration lawyer to help me?

No. It is entirely up to you whether you wish to seek professional help. Immigration lawyers like us generally have more experience and expertise in the appeal area (compared to a migration agent) because it gets quite technical when interpreting the law.

But it is still up to you whether you want to handle the whole appeal process by yourself. Our advice is to at least seek professional opinion. We have seen many people thinking they can handle it themselves because they don't fully understand the legal requirements and in the end it causes them more stress, grief and money in the long run.

Get it right the first time!

+ 5. Why was my visa refused?

There can be many reasons and this is usually found in the letter the Department of Home Affairs has sent you. It may be difficult to understand so send us a copy of the letter so we can explain the reasons for refusal to you.

+ 6. When must I appeal?

All decisions have a time limit in which you can appeal. The time limitation for merits review differs from judicial review but, generally speaking, there will be 21 or 28 days to appeal.

But sometimes the time limitation can be as short as 2 days. So don't waste time and contact us immediately for professional advice.

You will not be able to appeal once the time limit passes.


I am extremely grateful to everyone at Agape, who helped me when I was locked up in Villawood, after I was caught for being unlawful for a few year. Agape got me out of detention and advised and guided me for the past 3 years, especially when I was confused and didn’t know what to do, and now they are helping me with strategic advice on how to get PR. They even helped me get work permission before. I know I can go to them whenever I have questions or concerns and I know they will be there to help me.

- ZHOU Baixing

I came to Agape Immigration after my student visa application had been refused by the Department. Agape provided me with ease of mind through advice and reassurance, showed their understanding of the law, did their research on my matter and encouraged me to appeal for the decision. They showed me how I could win the appeal. And as they had advised, we won the AAT without having to go to hearing. When the decision got remitted to the Department, they came back saying I didn’t meet another legal requirement which was the Genuine Temporary Entrant criteria. Under the advice of a friend and another migration agent, I lodged a permanent visa application without letting Agape know. This was a serious mistake because Agape told me it really affected the Genuine Temporary Entrant requirement and they would have advised me differently had they known about this. The Department now felt I may not meet the Genuine Temporary Entrant requirement because I had applied for permanent residency and had been in Australia for over 10 years already. Calvin and Adele kept warning me that I would most likely fail because of both those issues and would need to appeal it to the AAT again. Despite letting them know about my full situation late, Adele and the team was able to help me devise a strategy to address the issues. They drafted legal submissions with case laws that were similar to my case. Without them, I know I would not be able to address the Department’s concerns. Because of their hard work, my student visa is now successfully granted by the Department after less than one (1) week after submitting all my supporting documents and submissions. The grant of this visa will allow me to stay in Australia for about 12 years which is not common for student visa holders. I cannot imagine what I would be doing right now if I did not listen to their advice, and now I would probably be appealing my refused student visa again, and would incur much more money and time. Agape’s prices are not cheap but now I can understand why they charge so much. It’s for their knowledge and experience. In the long run, it still saved me money. I cannot thank enough for what Agape has done for me and my families and would highly recommend the Agape team to all my friends and families who are in need of Migration Services.

- Jaydip