The impacts of COVID-19 have accentuated the importance of immigration to the Australian economy, especially in certain sectors like hospitality. There is a crucial need for high-quality legal services relating to migration law in Australia right now, and there will be for a long time to come, as skilled and unskilled immigration is ramped up to meet our economic needs.
Since the end of dual regulation in March last year, all Australian legal practitioners are now permitted to provide immigration advice and services to clients without having to be registered as migration agents. This means that there are significant opportunities for legal professionals that are looking to diversify their practice, if they are prepared to get up to speed with this challenging but very rewarding and exciting area of law.
Getting started: What you’ll need to know
Although lawyers now don’t need a specific qualification to deliver immigration advice, legal practitioners will need to acquire new knowledge and skills to ensure they can advise clients accurately.
For example, lawyers will need to understand:
The legislative framework underpinning Australian immigration law and the decision-making process
The recent immigration updates relating to COVID-19
How and when to lodge a persuasive Ministerial Intervention request
They will also need to know how to:
Make valid visa applications and lodge relevant evidence and submissions
Identify jurisdictional error for judicial review application purposes
Identify ethical and professional responsibility issues that arise in immigration law
The foundations of judicial review
To help your clients with any decisions relating to their visa applications, you’ll first need to understand the judicial review process – and how to put your client’s case forward, accurately and effectively.
Key parts of this process include:
Maintaining an awareness of the strict time frames involved
Assessing whether your client has a case (i.e. if there has been an error of law)
Preparing the review application and associated affidavits if required
Collating and reviewing any supporting documents
And if a court date is set, you’ll also need the skills to speak on behalf of your client during the hearing.
Make a difference: refugee and protection visas
If you have a special interest in immigration, migration and refugee law, then you’ll need to learn all about the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).
The AAT often reviews decisions surrounding visa outcomes for migrants and protection visas for refugees. It’s an extremely stressful process for those involved – and a costly one, too.
So, if you want to work in this area, it’s essential that you know how to navigate the AAT with skill.
Raring to go?
Thousands of people are in desperate need of immigration advice – now more than ever. This is the moment to sharpen your skillset in immigration law.
A world of opportunity awaits – for those who are ready to grasp it with both hands.