Apply on your own or use a lawyer ?

Australia is “as good as it gets” – and also notes that getting through the immigration system is “difficult but not impossible”. Australian people are famous for their friendly and easygoing outlook on life. But anyone planning to come to Australia should understand that the Australian government is serious about “protecting the security of our borders and the integrity of our immigration system”.

  1. Australia has a Universal Visa system. All non-citizens (unless you are a New Zealander) must have a visa to enter Australia. All non-citizens in Australia must hold a valid visa or be liable to detention and removal as ‘unlawful non-citizens’.
  2. Australia’s target migration intake is set yearly with a balance of different areas: skills, family, refugee/humanitarian. Of these areas, there is a strong policy emphasis on reducing family intake and boosting skills and business skills intakes.
  3. Not everyone is eligible for an Australia visa. Visa matters are subject to the Migration Act and Regulations. The rules change frequently according to legislative amendments and Federal and High Court precedents.
  4. Each visa subclass has its own conditions and criteria. If you apply in the wrong class, or you do not satisfy the decision-maker that you meet the conditions and criteria for the class you apply in, your application will be rejected without refund of the application fee.
  5. Discrimination against race or religion or gender is illegal in Australia, including the Australian Immigration system. There is legal discrimination by the Immigration system on the basis of factors like age, medical factors, character and criminal grounds, an applicant’s previous visa history, the overstay risk statistics of different countries, and so on. ‘Cap and queue’ setting is also a feature of some types of visa, delaying processing of those visas when the annual quota is filled.
  6. Visa applications are decided strictly on the merits of the applicant vis-à-vis the relevant class and subclass. Bribery and corrupt practices are alien to Australian official culture.
  7. Where a visa application is rejected and there is an Australian sponsoring interest, an appeal is available to an independent Review Tribunal in Australia. The application for review is separate from the visa application itself, with an application deadline and a separate fee, refundable if the appeal wins. Many Immigration Department decisions taken to the Review Tribunals are overturned. These cases can be considered the Immigration Department’s mistakes in interpreting and applying migration law.
  8. Appeals are also possible to the Federal and High Courts. These too are separate applications, which will usually require legal representation.
  9. A good adviser can help your chances by selecting the best visa avenue for your case, properly preparing the visa application with all necessary evidence, and effectively representing the case during processing.
  10. a Migration agents or lawyers are not Immigration officials. No person or company can ‘guarantee’ that you will get the visa.
  11. For this reason, generally speaking, any migration assistance contract containing a financial ‘guarantee’ should be regarded with suspicion. In some markets, clients expect and demand a ‘no visa, no fee’ or ‘money-back guarantee’ offer, incorrectly believing that this is a promise that the visa may be procured. In these markets, lawyers specialise in tricky, elaborate, and confusing contracts, to deceive the client into thinking the money will be refunded after a rejection.
  12. As in everything else, in professional migration advice you get what you pay for. For best value, consult and get proper advice first, before deciding whether to make a visa application and what visa to apply for. The wise will expect to pay for that advice: the money you spend could save you a fortune in wasted time, plans, hopes, trouble, and costs.

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