• Australian Ministerial Intervention

Ministerial Intervention

Under the Australian Migration Act 1958, the minister has powers that allow him/her to intervene in a migration related case if he or she thinks it is in the best public interest. However, the discretion of deciding what qualifies as public interest or vice versa is with the minister. There is no legal binding for the minister to consider intervention in any case. This means that if your case was intervened by the minister and the outcome is favourable then the minister grants you an Australian visa.


You might be able to make a request for ministerial intervention if you have received a decision by a merits review tribunal. This means the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) and, for review decisions made before 1 July 2015, the Migration Review Tribunal and the Refugee Review Tribunal.

The Minister’s powers are not available in the following circumstances:

There is no review decision by a merits review tribunal if

  • A Minister has already intervened to grant a visa
  • A tribunal has found that it does not have jurisdiction to review a decision
  • A tribunal has found that the review application was made outside the time limits
  • A tribunal has returned your case to Australian Home Affairs department for further consideration and one of our decision-makers has made a subsequent decision on your case.
  • The Australian Home Affairs department will let you know in writing if your request cannot be considered under the Minister’s public interest powers for one of these reasons.

How to make a request

  • You or your authorised representative can write to the Minister to request ministerial intervention.
  • You need to identify exactly who is included in your request, mention your departmental reference number (such as your Client Identity number) if you know it, and provide a copy of your tribunal decision so that your case can be quickly identified.
  • You must provide information about your circumstances and why you consider them to be unique or exceptional. You must include all relevant supporting documentation.

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This information describes the minister’s public interest powers in sections 351, 417 and 501J of the Migration Act 1958 and tells you about the types of cases that might be referred to the Minister and the types of cases that will not be referred to the Minister.

The Minister has powers under the Migration Act 1958 to replace a decision of a merits review tribunal on a person’s case with a decision that is more favourable to that person if the Minister thinks it is in the public interest to do so.

You should not assume that your request for ministerial intervention will be referred to the Minister. The Minister does not have to look at your case and does not have to intervene. Most requests are finalised by the Department in accordance with the Minister’s guidelines. Only a small number of requests are referred to the Minister.

Minister’s guidelines
The Minister’s guidelines describe the types of cases that might be referred for the Minister’s consideration. Requests are assessed against these guidelines. Requests that do not meet the guidelines will be finalised by the Australian authorities. Most requests do not meet the guidelines and are not referred to the Minister.

The Minister has described the types of unique or exceptional circumstances in which a case might be referred for the Minister’s consideration.

The Minister’s guidelines indicate that certain cases that do not meet the guidelines for referral are inappropriate to consider. The Minister has described the circumstances of these cases in the guidelines. The Minister expects us to finalise such requests without further processing.

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