From 1st of July 2015, the working of Migration Review Tribunal (MRT) and Refugee Review Tribunal (RRT) were incorporated into Migration Division of AAT that reviews the decisions made by the Federal Government.
Administrative Appeal Tribunal is the only body that has authority to review the merits of a visa application.
The AAT reconsiders your case file entirely reviewing the facts provided, laws relating to the decision and arrive at a new decision. AAT examines your application afresh reviewing the documents, evidences, forms and all the information you have provided to the department.
When you are applying for an appeal, you must lodge the application for review within the timeframe specified in the notification letter of decision. There may also be an additional application fees for the appeal application.
The processing time may again vary depending upon the case category. However, generally the durations are long ranging anywhere around 12 to 18 months.
It is only in special cases where you may request for an assessment on priority basis.
These are the possible outcomes.
Affirm: Means AAT agrees with the department's decision to refuse or cancel your visa. The decision made by the department is not changed. Hence, the refusal stands.
Vary: Means AAT disagrees with the decision of the department to refuse or cancel your visa and resends your application with new instructions and recommendation. Your application will be then forwarded to the Department of Immigration for further assessment.
If the outcome of AAT review is 'Affirm', then you have 2 options further:
Application to Federal Court: This can be done in strictly limited cases where there is some Legal Error in the decision by AAT.
Application for Ministerial intervention: You can write a request to the minister for his personal discretion to grant you visa by providing some potent reasons. The number of requests that are successful is less. But, in general if the Minister intervenes then the decision is positive.