For decisions made between 1 December 2016 and 31 May 2017

The time taken by the Migration and Refugee division to make a decision on your case will depend on a range of factors including:

  • the type of case
  • when your case is given to a division Member to conduct the review.

While cases are generally allocated in priority and date of lodgement order, cases may from time to time be allocated out of order of lodgement as part of a taskforce or targeted approach. Such allocations enable batches of cases raising similar issues to be dealt with more efficiently and allow the division to deal with a greater volume of cases than would otherwise be the case.

The following table gives a guide as to how long it may take based on actual processing times for a recent six month period. The table shows average and median processing times from lodgement to decision by case category for that time period.

The table is a guide only and does not guarantee that any individual matter will be heard in these timeframes.

  Processing times for decisions made between 1/12/16 and 31/05/17
  Calendar days from lodgement to decision
Case category Decisions Within 365 days Average Median
Bridging 181 100% 31 11
Visitor 1127 98% 163 162
Student refusal 967 72% 313 317
Temporary work 731 62% 298 281
Permanent business 239 56% 331 336
Skill linked 561 81% 234 185
Partner 2393 59% 343 330
Family 208 67% 328 287
Student cancellation 286 95% 227 236
Nomination/Sponsor approval 571 38% 399 423
Protection 2712 57% 358 327
Other 66 95% 160 139
         
By Migration/Refugee case type        
Migration 7330 70% 288 275
Refugee 2712 57% 358 327
Total 10042 66% 307 285

Note:  The average is the sum of all processing days divided by the number of cases processed. The median is the middle value of days, that is, the number of processing days which half of the cases exceeded and which half of the cases fell below.

Information about monthly application lodgements, decisions and cases on hand is available in the statistics.

Case allocation to a Member

Cases are allocated to Members according to priorities set by legislation and in directions issued by the President of the AAT and the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection. While cases are generally allocated in priority and date of lodgment order, cases may from time to time be allocated as part of a taskforce or targeted approach. Such allocations enable batches of cases raising similar issues to be dealt with more efficiently and allow us to deal with a greater volume of cases than would otherwise be the case.

Once a case has been allocated to a Member, the Member will decide how to proceed with the review. For information about the review process and ways you can help ensure your case is handled efficiently see AAT Practice Direction - Conduct of migration and refugee matters and the video guides for applicants

The order of processing cases

The types of cases which are given priority  processing are listed in the Presidential Direction - Prioritising cases in the Migration and Refugee Division.

The following cases are given the highest priority:

  • Cases involving persons in immigration detention.
  • Cases where there is a question as to whether or not we have jurisdiction to conduct a review.

The following cases are to be given the next highest priority:

  • Cases where the President or a Member or officer authorised by the President, decides there are compelling reasons for prioritising the case.
  • All visa cancellation cases.
  • All protection visa cases.
  • Cases remitted or returned from a court for us to reconsider.
  • Cases remitted to the Department  of Immigration and Border Protection and which have again been refused, resulting in the applicant making a further application for review.
  • Close family visitor refusal cases in accordance with regulation 4.23 of the Migration Regulations 1994.

Priority for all other cases is by date of lodgement of the application for review, subject to the batching of cases with similar issues or the President or Migration and Refugee Division Head authorising a targeted approach to particular caseloads.

Time frame for decisons

As each case is different, it is difficult to say how long it will take for a decision to be made on your case. The length of a review can vary depending on the type of case, the investigations that might be required, the overall workload of the AAT, and the priority given to the case. In some cases, the Member may announce the decision at the end of the hearing.  However, in most cases a decision will be given at a later date.

For Bridging Visa (Detention) cases, generally the Member will make a decision and notify you in writing within seven working days after receiving the application for review.

We also publish general information about decision time frames.

The division has experienced very high levels of lodgements in recent years and have many applications for review. This has impacted on processing times and may continue to do so for some time to come. It is important to note that the time taken to make a decision on your case depends on a number of factors, including when you lodged your application for review, the total number of applications lodged with the division in the same period, the type of decision to be reviewed, the complexity of the case and the average processing time for that type of review. To check the status of a review application, please contact us.

How can a case be prioritised?

A request for priority processing on compelling reasons grounds can be made in writing and should include detailed reasons for the request and be accompanied by supporting evidence. If you make a request for priority, your request will be considered carefully and you will be advised in writing whether or not priority is granted.