Merits Review Tribunals – 1 July 2015 changes – FAQ

Migration Review Tribunal ("MRT"), Refugee Review Tribunal ("RRT") (including the Immigration Assessment Authority) and the Social Security Appeals Tribunal ("SSAT") are being amalgamated with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal ("AAT") on 1st July 2015. 

​What is changing on 1 July 2015?

On 1 July 2015, the Migration Review Tribunal ("the MRT"), the Refugee Review Tribunal ("the RRT") (including the Immigration Assessment Authority) and the Social Security Appeals Tribunal ("the SSAT") will be amalgamated with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal ("the AAT")

A merits review tribunal undertakes an administrative reconsideration of eligible decisions made by government departments.  Such tribunals undertake the administrative reconsideration under the same legislative framework as the original departmental decision maker and they generally exercise the same powers and discretions conferred on that decision maker.

The AAT will largely continue with the same pre-1 July 2015 review processes of each of the four amalgamated tribunals, but a single point of contact will result in greater efficiencies. 

How does this change affect the department?

From 1 July 2015, the MRT and RRT will be abolished.

All references to the MRT and the RRT in migration legislation and all information issued by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection ("the Department") will change to refer to the AAT.

This change will not have any significant effect on the current work and processes of the Department.

What happens to the work of the MRT and the RRT?

The amalgamation of the MRT and the RRT into the AAT does not mean that the work of the MRT and the RRT will cease. 

The MRT's and the RRT's review functions relating to decisions by the Department on migration and refugee matters will be undertaken by a newly created specialist division within the AAT:

  • the Migration and Refugee Division (MRD)

    In addition, the Immigration Assessment Authority (IAA), which reviews fast track reviewable decisions relating to certain protection visa applicants, will be a separate office within the MRD.

    Note:     Departmental decisions that before 1 July 2015 could not be reviewed by the MRT or the RRT, but could be reviewed the AAT, will continue to be reviewable by the AAT.  Such decisions, which relate to character, citizenship and migration agents registration matters, will be reviewed in the AAT's General Division.

What does this mean for applicants and their representatives?

Applicants for review, their representatives and other stakeholders are unlikely to experience any change in the services that were delivered by the MRT and  the RRT before 1 July 2015.

Applicants and their representatives will not need to take any action on 1 July 2015.  Applications will continue to be processed as they would have been prior to amalgamation of the tribunals.

What happens to my undecided application with the MRT or the RRT?

If you applied before 1 July 2015 to the MRT or the RRT for review of a decision made by the Department and that review application has not yet been finalised, you do not need to lodge a new review application with the AAT.

All undecided applications at the MRT and  the RRT will automatically be transferred to, and decided by, the AAT in the MRD.

Until further notice, current MRT and RRT contact details will remain valid for contacting the MRD from 1 July 2015.

When do I lodge a review application with the AAT?

If, on or after 1 July 2015, the Department notifies you in a decision letter that:

  • you have been refused the grant of a visa OR
  • your visa has been cancelled  AND
  • you are eligible for a merits review of the decision by the AAT

you should act quickly if you wish to apply for review of that decision.  This is because there is a time limit by when the application must be lodged for it to be reviewable by the AAT. 

The AAT cannot extend the date by when you must apply to the AAT for a review of that decision. You must complete the relevant form and pay any applicable application fee within the time limit.

Details on forms and fee are available from the AAT's website at

How do I lodge a review application with the AAT?

The Department will tell you in the decision letter if you are eligible for merits review by the AAT. Details of the time limit for lodging your application for review and where you must lodge your application for review will be provided in that letter.

Usually, unless you are in immigration detention, you will be able to lodge your application either online, in person, by email, by post or by fax.

Note  If you are lodging an application by post, you must allow for enough time for the application to be received by the AAT before the time limit expires.

If you are in immigration detention, you will be advised by the Department on how you can lodge a review application with the AAT.

Where are AAT registries located so I can lodge my review application?

Registries of the AAT are located in most states.  These include:

New South Wales


Level 11

83 Clarence  Street

Sydney  NSW  2000



Level 10

120 Spencer Street

Melbourne VIC  3000



Level 4

119 North Quay

Brisbane QLD 4000

South Australia


11th Floor

91 Grenfell Street

Adelaide SA 5000

Western Australia


Level 5

111 St Georges Terrace

Perth WA 6000


Unless the Department's decision letter states differently, in most cases, review applications to the AAT can be delivered or sent to one of these AAT registries.

From 1 July 2015, information about AAT contact details, forms and fees are provided on the AAT website at

Where can I get additional information?

Further information about the merits review process is available from the AAT's website at

Further information on the amalgamation of the tribunals is available from the website of the lead government agency for the tribunals' amalgamation, the Attorney-General's Department, at