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Merger of immigration appeals tribunals in 2015

26.05.2014 00:04 Age: 3 yrs

The Coalition government announced the amalgamation of five Commonwealth merit-review tribunals, including the Migration Review Tribunal, in its 2014–15 budget.


Senator Mathias Corman, Commonwealth Minister for Finance, announced the amalgamation of five tribunals whose dealings include immigration matters. They are:

  • Administrative Appeals Tribunal 
  • Classification Review Board
  • Migration Review Tribunal 
  • Refugee Review Tribunal 
  • Social Security Appeals Tribunal.

The proposal, to take effect from 1 July 2015, is among a large number of abolitions and mergers of government bodies announced in the 2014–15 budget on the grounds of improving efficiency, effectiveness and accountability.

Senator Corman said, ‘With so many bodies and agencies, many with overlapping responsibilities, lines of accountability are blurred and action can too often be uncoordinated. All of this is confusing and unnecessarily costly for the community’.

The government says it will develop the details of the new arrangements in consultation with key stakeholders. 

Nobody knows at this early stage what the implications will be for individuals and organisations involved in Australia’s immigration process. There are many questions to be answered. For example:

  • At what level of formality will the resulting merged body operate?
  • Will this new ‘super-tribunal’ feel like a court (like the Administrative Appeals Tribunal) or closer to one of the smaller boards where applicants can appear without representation?
  • Will everyone need to be represented by a lawyer?
  • Wil costs go up or down?
  • Will waiting times for hearings get shorter or longer? 

At times of uncertainty such as these, representation by an experienced advocate in the complex area of immigration law is particularly reassuring. We suggest you watch this space for news of further developments resulting from this latest government announcement.


 
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