The Deputy President of the AAT Migration and Refugee Division, Jan Redfern, has provided updates on the operation of the Migration and Refugee Division (MRD) including:
- In person hearings are resuming in a limited capacity across Australia except in Victoria.
- The MRD uses its discretion in assigning cases to face to face, online or telephone format hearings
- Applicants have the discretion to object to telephone or online hearings but this will delay the matter being heard
- Members and/or applicants have the discretion to request that a hearing be adjourned if they feel the format of the hearing is not in the interests of the applicant and to be reconvened face to face at a later date
- Complex cases and those where mental health or credibility issues are involved are generally convened in face to face formats
- There were 63,000 cases in the queue as at 30 June 2020
- From the end of March to 30 June 2020 – 500 decisions were expedited
- In the last financial year 1,500 cases were decided ‘on the papers’
- 2,000 more cases than projected have been decided during the pandemic lockdown
- Victorian cases are providing a challenge, as those case files have not been digitised and are difficult to access, particularly for overseas partner cases.
- The number of full time equivalent tribunal members has not increased since 2015 although some recruitment is currently underway
- 49% of the MRD’s 63,000 active cases have an Registered Migration Agent (RMA) representative
- 3,511 RMAs are representing which is 49% of cases in the MRD.
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