Reasons For Australian Visa Refusal

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September 16, 2021

A visa refusal occurs when a visa application that has been submitted is declined by the Department of Home Affairs. In most cases, a visa refusal can be reviewed through the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). 

Why Was My Australian Visa Denied?

While the vast majority of visa applications are approved, there are numerous reasons why a visa application may be denied. The refusal can be made on the basis of a number of factors including ineligibility, a lack of evidence or documentation, character issues, health issues and fraudulent documents. Here are some of the most common reasons for Australia visa rejection to be mindful of.

Invalid Passport

Your passport is a crucial document in the visa application process. A damaged passport that is either torn or has pages missing can affect your visa application and increase the likelihood of your visa being rejected. You’ll also need to ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months and has a minimum of two blank pages.


Incomplete Visa Application Form

It is imperative that you provide information that is truthful on your application form to support your visa request. This should be done as soon as your application is made. An incomplete application form is when a section of the form isn’t filled out. This is a common error that happens to many applicants as they simply miss a section on the form or make an error. This can be easily avoided by taking the time and care to proofread all sections of the application multiples times.


Visa Character Requirements

The Department of Home Affairs may refuse or cancel a visa if the applicant doesn’t pass a character test. This decision is made by the Minister for Home Affairs, Minister for Immigration Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs or one of their delegates. An applicant who has had their visa refused or cancelled by a delegate can apply to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) to have the decision overturned. The AAT cannot review the decisions made by the minister personally but can review those made by delegates. A criminal conviction in your home country or any country can greatly affect your visa application. The most important thing to remember if you do have any criminal record is to disclose it on the application, no matter what sort of crime. You may not pass the character requirements as a result of the following circumstances:

  • You have a substantial criminal record
  • You have been convicted of escaping from immigration detention or convicted for an offence while you were in immigration detention
  • You are/have been a member of a criminal organisation or had any association with person/organisation involved in criminal conduct
  • You are suspected of being involved in organised crime


A clean criminal record proves that you are not a threat to society or have security concerns. To pass the character test you must declare any or all criminal conduct you have been engaged in and provide all requested information. Each application is looked at on a case-by-case basis and even if the character requirements are not met, the Minister for Home Affairs can still choose to grant a visa.


Missing Documents

The application for any visa in Australia requires a substantial number of supporting documents and applicants often mistakenly provide insufficient information in their application. This is the leading reason why visa applications get rejected. Each visa application requires different types of supporting documents. For example, if you are applying for a temporary skill shortage visa, you will need to provide an educational certificate, qualification certificates and previous work references. Applicants that don’t or forget to attach documents will often have their visa rejected.


Fraudulent Documents Or Information

A fraudulent document is when the document is suspected to be counterfeited, tampered with by a person with no authority or was not issued to that person. As a visa applicant, you must provide real and untampered documents with your application. If you provide information that is false or misleading in relation to your visa application or previous visa that you have held 12-months prior, this can lead to visa refusal.


Health Requirements

The health requirements are a crucial part of the visa application process. Every visa holder must pass the health tests to obtain a visa. This unfortunately means a large number of applications are refused. Medical conditions which may prevent a visa from being granted include HIV, tuberculosis, hepatitis, cancer, major heart issues and mental illnesses. Depending on the visa being applied for, an applicant’s family members might also have to meet the health requirement even if they not migrating to Australia. In some special circumstances, a health waiver can be granted. It is important to seek the advice of an immigration lawyer to apply for this waiver as they will be aware of when a health waiver is available.


Financial Requirements

When applying for an Australian visa, the Department of Home Affairs needs to be satisfied that the applicant is financially stable.  The applicant must demonstrate that they have sufficient funds to migrate to Australia. A number of visas have income or financial requirements you must meet. Australia requires migrants to provide detailed information about their finances such as bank statements to prove their financial stability. Any discrepancies in the applicant’s finances may lead to the visa application being rejected.


Failure To Answer/Provide Additional Documents

Meeting the requirements and completing the application correctly is only part of the visa process. Often the Department of Home Affairs will contact an applicant and request further documentation or information while the visa is being processed. It is imperative that the applicant responds as soon as possible and within the time frame that is suggested. If the additional documents are not received prior to the time limit, the visa is subject to denial. Additional documents are often requested and if they are not received prior to the time limit, the visa is subject to denial. To avoid being contacted for further information or additional documents, we recommended seeking advice on your application prior to submitting it.


What To Do If Visa Was Rejected

There are alternative options available for applicants that have had their visa rejected. The next potential step can be to lodge an appeal. The Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) can review the appeal within a prescribed timeframe. The AAT have the power to overturn a decision and return it to the department for reconsideration. You may be eligible to apply for another visa, depending on the circumstances of your case. These are some questions that you should look at if your visa is rejected:

  • Why was the decision to refuse or cancel your visa made by the Department?
  • What were the reasons or grounds for this decision?
  • If your visa is rejected and you are onshore, you will have a limited time to apply for another visa if you are eligible.


It is important to remember that a visa rejection does not necessarily mean the end of your migration dreams. Depending on the reason for the visa rejection, there may be other migration options still available. Our team of experienced immigration lawyers and migration agents at AustraliaMigrate can assist you with your Australian visa and appeal. Book a consultation today with one of our visa specialists to discuss your current situation.

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