Merits Review

About this visa

Many Home Affairs decisions can be decided on a case-

by-case basis. These are reviewed the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.


The AAT is independent and reviews administrative

decisions by government, including:- visa refusal and visa cancellation decisions (called “migration decisions”)- onshore protection refusal decisions (called “refugee decisions”); and- character-related refusal decisions, cancellation decisions and citizenship refusal decisions.

The department or minister is not represented in AAT investigations.

Note: The AAT is the only merits review tribunal for immigration-related matters. It was created on July 1, 2015, as a combination of the Migration Review Tribunal and Refugee Review Tribunal. For more information, see “Merits Review Tribunals – 1 July 2015 changes – Client Fact Sheet”.

Independent Protection Assessment

Department decisions for refugee status in offshore protection obligation cases can be reviewed by the Independent Protection Assessment (IPA). This process replaced the Independent Merits Review (IMR) system in March 2011. Independent protection assessments are conducted by an independent assessor who investigates the applicant’s claims.

All merits review tribunals are able to change the departmental decision, and make directions to the departmental decision makers. In the case of the IPA, this would be to the minister.