Lodging an appeal was far more straight forward than I could have ever expected. Once I got over the complete disappointment of having been rejected in the first place, and going through the stages of grief for the country I thought I just lost, I started reading.
The first steps were about contacting a few immigration lawyers first to see if we had grounds. I knew I had the right to appeal but I didn’t want to waste the money if I didn’t have a fighting chance. Turns out my appeal was going to be a complete shot in the dark however, it was going to buy us some time to stay in Australia longer than the 35 days I was given. Once your 35 days are up, if you’ve lodged an appeal, you are automatically granted a Bridging Visa while you wait for the hearing. Since there is currently a refugee humanitarian crisis happening in and around Australia my appeal wasn’t considered urgent. I was right down the bottom of the queue. The estimates for a hearing date were at the very earliest, a year away!
This timeframe was enough for me to justify spending the $1600, albeit begrudgingly.
How I Applied For Appeal
The basis of my appeal is that the skills assessment I provided, and the skills assessment they wanted, are identical assessments provided by the same authority. Therefore, the assessment for the temporary visa I submitted in the first place should have been considered valid evidence. All I had to do was write my own statement as to why I think the decision should be reconsidered and fill in my personal details. My statement included a few facts about the assessments, the social work authority, and my own situation to make it really clear why I feel the evidence I had was sufficient. You fill in a few personal details online, upload your statement and any other supporting evidence (the assessment itself), pay the fee, and then wait for them to accept it. My appeal application was accepted the same day which bought me another year of living in Australia. To me, it was worth it.
The Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) don’t overturn decisions, as such. What they can do is tell the relevant authority, in this case the Immigration Department, to reconsider the decision and recommend a change. The AAT look at the situation through the exact same legislation as the Immigration Department do. My way of thinking about it is that you get more critical eyes, who know the policies in and out, to have a look and make sure the first guy wasn’t wrong.
Fast forward and we are nearly 2 years into the future where I still haven’t been invited to the actual hearing. Stay tuned on that one but don’t hold your breath for an outcome!
In the meantime, I’ve applied as a Migrant to the UK and moved to Scotland. More on this later!