What To Do If Your Visa Is Rejected

Applying for a Visa to move, travel or visit Australia can be a daunting, confusing or time consuming task. You might feel yourself becoming confused by the process or the forms you need to complete to be able to achieve your goal.

Today we are talking about Visa Refusal, what is it, what happens if your Visa is refused and what to do about it.

So, what is a Visa Refusal?

A Visa refusal is when an application and money has been taken by immigration but for whatever reason it was denied. This is not to be confused with a Visa that is cancelled or an invalid application was made. A Visa application that is made outside of Australia in most cases will not be able to get it appealed as you don’t always have the rights to an appeal.. If you have made your application within Australia you will be able to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). The AAT is not to be mistaken with the Immigration department whereby you can prove that the decision making was wrong, similar to a courtroom where an independent member of tribunal makes a decision based on the evidence presented in the case and during the hearing. Also similar to court at the AAT you are able to bring forward your argument as to why it was a wrong decision and use evidence and witnesses to support your claim.  The role of the tribunal is to walk in the shoes of the decision maker and to make a fresh decision, this process is called merit review contrary to judicial review in a Federal court where the correctness of legislation application in specific cases is being examined.

The role of the Immigration agent 

While you will be present on the day you argue your case to the AAT, also you can opt to bring your immigration agent with you for support on the day. Prior to your Visa Refusal application you can get your Immigration agent to draft and prepare your documentation and written submission,  but cannot speak on your behalf giving oral evidence. You must do it yourself or call whiteness. Agents however can monitor the hearing for and check for fairness , especially identifying apprehended bias  which might open the door to further judicial review if it occurs. Having the Immigration agent there on the day is an advantage because you can be sure that you will not miss any important points when arguing your visa refusal . It is essential to consult your agent before giving evidence in relation to the matter which according to the Tribunal Member might be the reason or part of the reason for affirming the decision under review.

Our Director Piotr Ferenc has an incredible reputation and is a very well-known and respected Immigration agent,Piotr can be known for his unorthodox approach at times communicating directly with the tribunal member even though it is frowned upon, he does this as so to gain a positive outcome for his clients (which he most often does).

If your case is unsuccessful at the AAT then there is another step you can take which is a ministerial intervention if we believe we can argue that grant of visa is in the public interest, previously we have done this many times before. Unfortunately the ministerial guidelines have changed especially in relation to the Australian family unit members and now many cases are declined to be considered by the Minister personally.

The last option would be to go through the Federal Court, at this stage you would need legal representation, however you do have the option to be self-represented. We partner with lawyers who specialise in immigration law to defend our clients, sometimes it is better for them to represent themselves with their own preparations in support of their immigration agent. The Federal Court is an expensive option but it’s worth a shot if you hold the right cards.

What happens if you lodge an invalid application?

An invalid application is not the same as a visa refusal, in this case it is determined that you were in fact trying to lodge an application that is illegal. The good news is that the immigration department won’t take your money but you will also miss out on a bridging visa., if you are on a tight deadline it may be a big and costly mistake if your application is not lodged and received on time.

What is a Visa cancellation?

Visa cancellation is where the visa has already been approved however it has a chance to be cancelled under the immigrants suspicion that you are doing something wrong. You first would receive an “intention to cancel” letter sent to you ( if you are in Australia)  asking for comments  and reasons why the Department should not take a visa away from you.  In some cases the immigration department might believe that information you have provided in application and  evidence required to get a visa were  wrong or bogus and sometimes the records will show that you have breached a condition of the visa or someone has dobbed on you for something. This can however be defended if you are innocent or there is reasonable explanation to the condition breach. Pacific Center has reversed many of those cases in fact we provided strong well prepared evidence to the Immigration department. This is a highly stressful process but can be done and can be a successful outcome. Remember on tide time frame for appeal – 7 working days only !

In all of our experiences and cases we have taken on as an agency we have found that it is really the attitude of the migration agent that truly makes the difference with a case. We found that many, even experienced agents are afraid of the judge or immigration department. They are less confident when it comes to arguing a defence for their client. Many migration agents sit quietly and hope for the best, this is not Piotr’s style.

Why did my visa get refused?

There are many different reasons why your visa could get refused and it’s difficult to write them all down. To name the common reasons why a visa is refused they can be

  • Wrong visa category, because there are hundreds of visa categories it might be hard and confusing to know which one is right for you. The devil lies in the details and sometimes it is enough to mix up one small detail and you could get refused. To the untrained eye this can seem like the right category at the time but without an expert opinion you could end up applying for the wrong visa and therefore getting refused. Selecting the right subclass and pathway within visa class can mean the difference between a successful application and an unsuccessful one.

  • Having the wrong documents or documents that work against you rather than for you. You want to know how much is right. Sometimes less is better, sometimes you want to swamp the department with documents. It takes experience and knowledge of policies to know what to do. For example if partner visa applicants must provide evidence of social, family and living arrangements, providing 1000 photos won’t solve a problem. But if you are a contract administrator showing workload that is exactly what you need. Stating you as the “best boyfriend” may actually jeopardise your partner visa even if it is written with the best intentions as partner visa as boyfriend girlfriend relationship is not eligible.

  • Contradicting, mismatched or not verified documents. What we have seen may surprise you but it destroys others hopes Wrong business name registration, error in address, mother who didn’t know your plans, payslip with wrong title or hourly rate, Facebook post, employer add on his website. Immigration can be very picky.  In high risk countries they have private investigators to verify documents, to talk to witnesses, to check if businesses, schools, neighbours exist and confirm your story. Providing wrong information may not only cost you your application but it may also result in a ban on future applications. It is called public interest criterion 4020 which you may think it applies to serious lies, proper fraud but not. The most serious punishment we have seen was for a person who was genuinely employed but on a resume decided to dress up a bit his position a little. There was no need for it, the motivation was innocent so as to make themselves look better, writing in things that were done once or twice. It cost this person over 6 years of legal battles, thousands of dollars, not mentioning stress and time.

So that sums up what we know and learnt about visa refusals in a very short amount of time. The important things to note are that you should know your rights and legal standing. Know what is required at the time of application, what is required at the time of decision and what you can do and what you cannot do. Have notes and make sure you prepare and document self-explanatory, legally standing evidence. Many applicants hope for common sense, emotions and empathy, this is wrong thinking. Immigration and AAT need even more detail, paragraphs, legal standings and rightful explanations.

Good luck with your visa to Australia journey. We hope this article has been helpful for you and if you have any questions about it please contact us today.


Consultation with a Pacific Center professional and experienced migration agent has a great potential to save your time and money. We are here to help. Please contact us if you have any questions.