Ministerial Intervention Requests


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. We assess all requests against these guidelines. Requests that do not meet the guidelines will be finalised by us. 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. 

Unsuccessful Requests

Ministerial intervention is not part of the visa process and very few requests for ministerial intervention are successful. The Minister is not obliged to consider your case or to intervene in your case.

If your request is unsuccessful, and if you have no other immigration matters ongoing, you are expected to leave Australia as soon as possible. 

If there are reasons why you cannot depart promptly, you should contact your nearest immigration office. If you remain in Australia without a valid visa you risk being detained and removed if you are located by the Department. You may also incur a debt to the Australian Government for the cost of removal.

Your Visa Status Is Important

You are expected to remain engaged with us and, if you are in Australia, you are expected to continue to make arrangements to depart even if you have made a request for ministerial intervention. 

Unless you are in immigration detention, the Minister expects you to hold a current visa throughout the processing of your request for intervention. The Minister does not want to consider requests from people in the community who are unlawful non-citizens. If you are in the community and are an unlawful non-citizen, we will finalise your request without further processing.

This means that you must hold a bridging or other visa, or have applied for a Bridging visa C, Bridging visa D or Bridging visa E.

If you have any questions about your immigration status while your request is in processing, or if you have received a letter from us asking you to make contact about your immigration status, you should contact Immigration quickly. 

When You Can Make A Request

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:

The Immigration will let you know in writing if your request cannot be considered under the Minister’s public interest powers for one of these reasons.

You should not discontinue any application for judicial review on the expectation that the Minister will intervene in your case because only a small number of requests for ministerial intervention are successful.

Including Family Members

You can only include family members in your request if they have also had a merits review tribunal decision in their case.

Unique or Exceptional Circumstances

The Minister has provided guidance on the types of unique and exceptional circumstances that could be brought to the Minister’s attention.

Note: This list is not exhaustive. Providing the documents listed or meeting one of the unique or exceptional circumstances below does not mean that your request will be successful.

Types of Unique or Exceptional Circumstances          

Inappropriate to Consider

The Minister has indicated to us that cases that do not meet the guidelines for referral and which have the types of circumstances described below are inappropriate for the Minister to consider. If your case has one or more of these circumstances, we will finalise it without referral to the Minister and will advise you or your authorised representative in writing: