Why you need a Migration Lawyer to Fix a Visa Refusal

If your visa application is refused by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP), then you can have this decision reviewed on appeal.

Surprisingly some people question whether it is going to assist their case to have a lawyer involved!

Of course it does!

Indeed, you should engage an experienced migration lawyer before lodging a visa application…to avoid the need to seek a review or Appeal.

Engaging a migration lawyer is critically important at all stages, but even more so during any review or Appeal process because:

  1. It is impossible to be objective about your own visa, and why it was refused, especially if you lodged it yourself.
  2. It is ALWAYS harder to fix a refusal, than to get a visa through at the DIBP stage.
  3. If you failed at the DIBP stage, then it is clear you need help at the review phase.
  4. The DIBP can use evidence given by you during the review process, when considering future visa applications.
  5. If you fail the review process, it will be exponentially harder to reapply.
  6. Engaging a migration lawyer shows you are serious about wanting to live here, and gives you an opportunity to have an experienced and qualified person to advise you on what is needed, and how to maximise your chances.
  7. The review process involves an intimate understanding of Court procedure and administrative law – noting administrative law is a complex and difficult area of law which largely deals with the technical issues associated with determining whether the decision maker followed a fair process.
  8. The DIBP usually engage private Law Firms to act for them, so you will be against a well-resourced opponent determined to keep their refusal in place.
  9. If you lose you are exposed to orders that you pay the DIBP’s legal costs.
  10. If you win, then you can recover costs against the DIBP.

A quick real life example of a client who engaged us a few months ago to rescue his permanent residency (“PR”) visa, after it was cancelled on character grounds.

He had tried to answer the DIBP’s questions himself, and whilst he did a half decent job, his response was emotional and did not address the legal or policy requirements, so his PR Visa was cancelled.

If we had acted from the beginning we believe he would never have had an issue, but he thought his PR visa was safe and that he would be fine as he had lived in Australia since the 1970s, so he thought he should save some money and answer it himself.

He was incorrect because they cancelled his PR Visa and picked him up for deportation to the UK.

We then got engaged by his family to rescue him.

We identified that the best way to proceed was to lodge an Appeal with the Federal Court, we arranged a solution which prevented him being deported whilst we went through the Courts, and ultimately we successfully persuaded the DIBP to accept our arguments and  to restore our client’s permanent residency rights, and to pay his costs. This took 2-3 months and the DIBP agreed to pay $22,000 towards the legal costs.

If our client had represented himself, he probably would have filed in the AAT (not the Federal Court), he would not have identified the technical arguments that we identified, he probably would have failed and then been deported with a 3 year ban on re-entry, with costs against him.

Fortunately he saw us early, and we were able to restore his PR status, and get a costs Order of $22,000 in his favour.

Basically, we won because we were able to argue that the DIBP failed to followed the requirements set out in the Migration Act.

Only an experienced lawyer would identify these technical arguments and know how to run them correctly.

Both are recent 2016 cases which demonstrate that if a Migration Lawyer is present at the hearing, they will be able to advise you on any technical issues which the AAT has failed to address, and how to maximise your prospects.

To ensure you have the best chance of reversing a refusal, get legal advice as soon as the refusal is received. Our experienced team at The Migration Place have handled countless administrative law matters all the way to the Full Bench of the High Court of Australia, and we pride ourselves on our technical ability to find unique solutions to visa issues.

Please note you must lodge your Appeal within time, and the time period is short (sometimes as little as 7 days), so you should get legal advice as soon as you receive the refusal notice. It is also wise to have a reliable address for notice to ensure you know when the decision is made…which is yet another reason why you should engage an experienced migration lawyer ASAP (so you know when a decision is made!).