Ministerial Intervention

What is ministerial intervention?

Under the Migration Act of 1958 the Minister of Immigration has authority to intervene and override a decision made by the Department of Home Affairs or Administrative Review Panel on a visa application if the Minister finds that it would be in the best public interest. Only a small number of cases are referred to the Minister as the department follows guidelines set by the Minister in making decisions.

Who can request ministerial intervention?

There are two scenarios in which an applicant can apply for Ministerial Intervention. The first is when the applicant applied for review by the Administrative Review Tribunal and the outcome was not favourable. The second, is if the applicant applied for a Protection Visa and it was refused or cancelled by The Department of Home Affairs. In both scenarios applicants must still be holding a valid visa to remain in Australia lawfully (i.e., bridging visa A) and meet the Ministers Guidelines (see below). Requests can be made by you or by an authorised representative, without proper authorisation, The Department of Home Affairs will not communicate with a third party. To authorise a third party an applicant must fill out Form 956A “Appointment or Withdrawal of an Authorised Recipient Form”. You can do so via:

Note: If Ministerial Intervention is denied the applicant must plan to depart Australia at the expiration of their current visa.

What are the ministers’ guidelines?

Ministerial Intervention in most cases is for unique exceptional circumstances, the Minister has guidelines set up to determine if a case can be referred for Ministerial Intervention. The guidelines for recognised compassionate circumstances are as follows:

Unique circumstanceDocuments needed to support claims
 Strong compassionate circumstances that in the circumstance the minister did not interevent the result would be “serious, ongoing and irreversible harm” involving hardship to an Australian citizen or member of a family in which one member is an Australian citizen or permanent resident.·         A statutory declaration outlining the circumstances resulting in harm·         Relevant medical/specialist reports that corroborate your claims and provide sufficient evidence that an Australian citizen/permanent resident is impacted and will need continuing treatment not otherwise able to be sourced by community services·         A supporting letter from the above-mentioned Australian citizen/permanent resident confirming your involvement in supporting them including evidence of the nature and legitimacy of your relationship to them 
Compassionate circumstances regarding the applicants age, health or psychological condition that if not recognised will result in “serious ongoing irreversible harm”·         Proof of age i.e., passport and/or birth certificate·         Recent medical/specialist reports outlining the condition of your health·         A statutory declaration outlining the harm that will be caused due to your age/health/psychological state·         A letter of support from your family members/someone who is willing to provide ongoing care (this must outline clearly the support they will provide you)
Evidence that your remaining in Australia would exceptionally benefit the economy, science, culture etc. in Australia·         A statutory declaration·         Awards/ industry or peer recognition·         Letters of support from the community in which would be benefitted from your stay in Australia·         Evidence of your English proficiency i.e., results from the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test·         Evidence of qualifications·         Evidence your skills are relevant to Australia by an Australian Assessment Authority·         References from employers to evidence your employment status in your elected field·         Business/financial statements
Unprecedented circumstances that could not have been anticipated by any relevant Australian legislation; or clearly unintended consequences of relevant legislation; or applying relevant legislation led to unfair/unreasonable outcome for youNote: Immigration policy can be found in the Migration Regulations 1994·         Documents that evidence that you have circumstances that were unprecedented in Australian legislations and therefore could not be anticipated leading to unfair refusal of your visa·         Evidence that there is relevant precedent in Australian legislation or policy that meant your visa should not have been refused·         Evidence that the refusal of your visa lead to harm or unfair/unreasonable result
You cannot be returned to your country/countries of citizenship or where you usually reside due to unexpected circumstances outside your control·         Evidence of your identity i.e., passport, birth certificate, relevant authentic travel documents issued in your name·         Evidence that the reason you are unable to return to your home country was unforeseen meaning you did not have knowledge of these circumstances before entering Australia·         Evidence that you are unable to obtain or have been refused new travel documents by the country you hold citizenship or where you usually reside

Note: A statutory declaration is a legally binding document in which you are swearing to be telling the truth, it must be witnessed by an approved person. A statutory declaration if found to be untrue it is a criminal offence and is punishable by law.

All requests are assessed against the guidelines established by the minister.  Requests that do not meet these guidelines are finalised by The Department of Home Affairs and will not reach the minister.

The Minister will not address cases for Ministerial Intervention For Visa Application that are not in best public interest under the Ministers Guidelines this includes; a person who has breached or did not comply with visa conditions on their current or any previous visa/visa application, is in Australia unlawfully and cannot provide documentation or is deemed by the department to not meet requirements declaring statelessness, the applicant doesn’t satisfy “fraud-related public interest” criteria, the applicant is identified by the Australian Secret Intelligence Organisation as a risk to national security (direct or indirect risk) or is currently subject to an Adverse Security Assessment (ASA), the applicant is on a partner visa that is subject to 8503 condition, 8534 (no further stay) condition or the person is prohibited from applying for  a partner visa onshore, the applicant has left Australia and does not plan on returning to Australia or does not hold a valid return visa. For a more detailed list on the Ministers Guidelines for cases that are “inappropriate to consider” you can visit the Department of Home Affairs website via:

How to make a request

You or your authorised representative must contact the Minister of Immigration via writing to the Minister including the necessary documentation including:

  • Your departmental reference number and a copy of tribunal decision, this allows the department to most efficiently identify your case.
  • An outline of your circumstances including why you deem them unique and exceptional (in accordance with the outlined ministerial guidelines)
  • All relevant certified documentation that supports your claim (the department isn’t likely to request further evidence and will most likely make a decision based on the information you initially provide so including everything you have that supports your claim is important, if you are unable to provide specific necessary documentation this must be explained)

Note: documents not written in English must be accompanied by a correct English translated version by a NAATI certified translator

Leaving Australia during the processing of your request for ministerial intervention

If you choose to leave Australia you need a valid return visa, if you do not have a valid return visa your request may be finalised in your absence without progressing for further processing.

Refusal or cancellation of Protection visas

Protection visas include Protection (permanent) visa (subclass 866), Protection (temporary) Visa, (subclass 785) and Safe Haven Visas.

If an applicant applies for a protection visa and it is denied an applicant cannot apply again, therefore the subsequent response would usually be an Administrative Appeals Tribunal. All information relevant to the application must have been included in the original application. The only reason the minister would intervene in these cases is if the circumstances surrounding the application have changed since the initial lodgement and/or tribunal and therefore weren’t able to be properly addressed.

Note: this does not include if information surrounding circumstances at the time of application were simply left out of the application it must be new unexpected circumstances or worsening of original circumstances with relevant evidence.

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