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About 40% of the migration Tribunal’s caseload consist of dealing with Partner Visa refusals by the department of immigration, according to the latest figures from the AAT. Has the hike in the partner visa application charge resulted in applicants attempting this complex application on their own?

RMAs have also recently reported that processing times for Partner Visas are going well beyond DIBPs promised standards even with the department announcing that its currently taking up to 15 months to decide on the first stage of a partner visa application.

There have been suggestions that DIBP is “intentionally staggering visa grants across the program year, so as not to exhaust their entire allocation within the first few months. There are also suggestions that staff cutbacks and an increase in the number of low quality applications is increasing processing times.

“I have heard it said many applications prepared by the couple without professional guidance/assistance are manifestly inadequate and lead to refusals. This alone is often why a later professionally prepared appeal is successful… Perhaps the increase in refusals is due to an increase in couples preparing their own applications and I suggest this may well be driven by the increase in Partner Visa Fees,” says Robyn Oyeniyi, a prominent human rights campaigner and author of the book, Love versus Goliath on her website.

According to the statistics from the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) its current caseload consists of 10,626 cases related to migration review (excluding refugee reviews). While it is deciding about a 1000 cases a month, there is an average 1165 new cases being lodge each month.

Partner visa category cases currently on hand with AAT number some 4,270 or about 40% of the tribunal’s caseload. Most of the AAT review applications are generally being lodged in Sydney (40%) and Melbourne (36%).

Of the total cases decided, just under half are being affirmed and over a third being set aside. The others are either withdrawn or discontinued.

Cases are generally taking about a year to finalise.

Days from lodgement to decision

Case category Decisions Average Median 75th percentile
Bridging

280

17

9

11

Visitor

777

119

113

148

Student refusal

1023

241

221

317

Temporary work

359

257

228

378

Permanent business

269

304

260

399

Skill linked

254

225

170

241

Partner

1939

342

376

432

Family

452

379

387

449

Student cancellation

255

233

232

297

Nomination/Sponsor approval

398

303

289

406

Protection

1615

405

413

520

Other

31

95

91

119

 

Courtesy of Migration Alliance