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Migration: When Can I Seek Ministerial Intervention?

If your visa application has been refused by the Immigration Department, and you have already appealed to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) but still do not receive a decision in your favour, you may be able to seek “Ministerial Intervention” as your last resort. Here is what you need to know when deciding on whether Ministerial Intervention is an available pathway for you.


Photograph by Ricardo Esquivel


Ministerial Intervention Requirements:

Applicant must have had the decision reviewed by the AAT.

Applicant must meet the Minister's Guidelines, as the Minister has guidelines of circumstances that may be considered and circumstances that will not be considered. This depends on each individual situation, please refer to Part B and Part C below for details.

Applicant must be lawfully in Australia – if your visa has already expired, it is important that you legalise your status in Australia which may require a Bridging Visa E application, otherwise the request would be finalised without further processing.


Cases that the Minister intervenes in includes:

Strong compassionate circumstances that if not recognised would result in serious, ongoing and irreversible harm and continuing hardship to an Australian citizen or an Australian family unit, where at least one member of the family is an Australian citizen or Australian permanent resident.

Compassionate circumstances regarding your age and/or health and/or psychological state, that if not recognised would result in serious, ongoing and irreversible harm and continuing hardship.

Exceptional economic, scientific, cultural or other benefit that would result from you being permitted to remain in Australia.

Circumstances not anticipated by relevant legislation; or clearly unintended consequences of legislation; or the application of relevant legislation leads to unfair or unreasonable results in your case.

You cannot be returned to your country/countries of citizenship or usual residence due to circumstances outside your control.


Example of a previous Ministerial Intervention case where the Minister found it appropriate to intervene –

The Rajasegaran family of 4 had appealed to the AAT after their permanent residency was rejected, but it was dismissed. The family was subsequently allowed to remain in Australia after Immigration Minister, David Coleman, intervened in a Ministerial Intervention to grant them permanent residency.


The father of the family suffers from a kidney condition which meant he failed the government's immigration health requirement. The health requirement aims to prevent people from migrating to Australia whose health care could pose a significant cost to the taxpayer. Under the migration regulations, if one family member fails the requirement, then the entire family must have their visas rejected. In support of their Ministerial Intervention application, the family created an online petition which gathered more than 90,000 signatures, receiving immense public support.


This is an example of the Minister intervening based on item #4 above in Part B “Circumstances not anticipated by relevant legislation; or clearly unintended consequences of legislation; or the application of relevant legislation leads to unfair or unreasonable results in your case”. This is evident in the fact that shortly after the decision by the Minister, the government relaxed the regulations underpinning the migration health requirement and raised the significant cost threshold. If your circumstances fall under any of the cases where a Minister would intervene, then you could be eligible for a Ministerial Intervention application.


If the following circumstances apply to you, the Minister will not intervene:

A Notice of intention to remove has been issued to you and the Ministerial Intervention request has not yet been initiated by the Department.

You hold a Bridging visa E with visa condition 8512 which specifies that you must leave Australia by a specified date.


Time Limit for Ministerial Intervention application:

There is no specific time limit, however you must apply whilst you are lawful in Australia on either a Bridging Visa or a substantive visa. The Minister will not intervene in any cases where an applicant is an unlawful non-citizen.


The Ministerial Intervention processing time:

In most circumstances the process takes in excess of 12 to 18 months. Please also note that preliminary assessment is typically conducted for Ministerial Intervention cases, if the preliminary assessment is not approved then the applicant is expected to leave with no further delay. Preliminary assessment is done within around 1 to 2 months of receiving the application.


Chances of success for a Ministerial Intervention application:

Please keep in mind that the Minister only intervenes in a very small number of cases that are presented for his/her consideration. The chances of a successful application depend on each individual circumstances. It is important for the applicant to prepare his/her friends and family to write in support of the application, as most of the time the Minister accepts applications with widespread community support (as shown in the Ministerial Intervention case mentioned above in Part B). Please also note that the Minister’s decision is final and cannot be reviewed or appealed.


Please contact CMI Legal if you require advice on your prospect for Ministerial Intervention.

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