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Does a visa refusal affect my future visa applications?

Australian Migration Lawyer
February 9, 2024
minute read

A visa refusal occurs when the Department of Home Affairs denies an individual's application to enter or stay in a country. This could be due to various reasons, ranging from incomplete documentation to concerns about an applicant's eligibility.

How does a visa refusal affect future visa applications?

The impact a visa refusal has on your future visa applications depends on what kind of visa you initially applied for, the grounds on which your visa was refused and other individual circumstances. Generally speaking, your visa refusal will be recorded in your immigration history, thus any future application you may make will be subject to increased scrutiny. Furthermore, the Department of Home Affairs will closely examine your character and integrity, making it crucial to address any concerns that led to the initial refusal.

However, there are several specific factors which determine what options are available to you after a visa refusal.

If you were refused a visa, other than a Bridging visa since last entering Australia

If you do not hold a substantive visa and were refused a visa, other than a Bridging, visa since last entering Australia, your subsequent visa application will be limited to the following subclasses:

  • Special Eligibility (residence)
  • Child (residence)
  • Partner (temporary)
  • Partner (residence)
  • Protection
  • Medical treatment (visitor)
  • Territorial asylum (residence)
  • Border (temporary)
  • Special category (temporary)
  • Bridging A
  • Bridging B
  • Bridging C
  • Bridging D
  • Bridging E

Please note that although you can submit a visa application under these conditions, your visa will not be approved unless you meet the specific criteria outlined in the Migration Regulations.

If your visa was refused whilst you were Australia and you do not hold a substantive visa:

If your visa application was refused whilst you are in Australia and you do not have a substantive visa, s 48 of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) will apply. The ‘section 48’ bar prevents you from applying for most other visas while you are in Australia, thus you will need to leave Australia before you can reapply for a visa.

However, there are some visas which are exempt from the section 48 bar, meaning that you can still apply for the following visas:

  • Partner (Temporary) (Class UK);
  • Partner (Residence) (Class BS);
  • Protection visas;
  • Medical Treatment (Visitor) (Class UB);
  • Territorial Asylum (Residence) (Class BE);
  • Border (Temporary) (Class TA);
  • Special Category (Temporary) (Class TY);
  • Bridging A (Class WA);
  • Bridging B (Class WB);
  • Bridging C (Class WC);
  • Bridging D (Class WD);
  • Bridging E (Class WE);
  • Bridging F (Class WF);
  • Bridging R (Class WR);
  • Resolution of Status (Class CD);
  • Child (Residence) (Class BT);
  • Retirement (Temporary) (Class TQ);
  • Investor Retirement (Class UY);
  • Skilled--Nominated (Permanent) (Class SN);
  • Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) (Class PS);
  • Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) (Class PE).

If you previously applied for a protection visa (subclass 866) and it was refused:

If, since you last entered Australia, you have applied for a protection visa and have been refused, you cannot make a further application for a protection visa while in Australia. An exception to this is where the Minister decides it is in the public interest to allow you to lodge a further application.

If you visa was refused on character grounds:

The consequences of a visa refusal based on character grounds are the most significant, if you have had a visa refused on character grounds since you last arrived in Australia, you will be prevented from making any further visa applications, except for a Protection visa (subclass 866).

If your visa was refused due to a failure to satisfy PIC 4020:

If you have had a visa refused through the operation of Public Interest Criteria (PIC) 4020, you may be prevented from being granted a further visa to Australia. PIC 4020 is an integrity measure aimed at preventing fraud in the visa migration program. If you supplied bogus documents or information which is false or misleading in relation to your visa application, PIC 4020 may apply. In this case, you may be subject to a three-year exclusion period during which you will not be granted a visa that includes PIC 4020 as a criterion. Furthermore, if the Minister has refused your application under PIC 4020(2A) (i.e. the Minister is not satisfied of your identity), you could face a 10 year ban.


Book consultation

If you are interested in getting more information about a visa, get in touch with Australian Migration Lawyers for a consultation.


Alternatives following visa refusal or cancellation:

In addition to considering the options for applying for another visa, there are alternative avenues through which you may seek to have your refusal or cancellation decision reconsidered. This can be pursued through various channels:

  • Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT): You have the option to apply for a review of your case by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
  • Ministerial Intervention: If your AAT appeal is unsuccessful, you may seek the Minister's personal intervention in your case.
  • Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia: Alternatively, if the AAT appeal proves unsuccessful, you may have the opportunity to have your case heard by the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia.

Given the potential serious consequences of visa refusal, it is recommended that you engage the support of a Migration lawyer, who will be able to assist you in identifying where your application could improve and addressing any concerns that might be had by immigration authorities.

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