This blog was not written by ChatGPT.

‘Applying for a visa is no piece of cake: Why you should engage an immigration lawyer’ is our immigration blog article with the most clicks (and continues to be popular). This was surprising as I thought people would want to read more technical visa information. On further reflection, however, it actually does make sense why people want to know, above everything else, whether or not they should be engaging a lawyer (or migration agent).  

Engaging an expert is the starting point of the visa journey. Knowing whether you should pay a lawyer money to guide you through what can for some individuals be a life-altering experience is an important decision to make.  As consumer confidence has been shaken over the years from the many stories that have emerged of bad lawyers and migration agents giving poor-quality advice and putting clients in jeopardy, professionals like myself have had to substantiate our abilities.

For this reason, I thought I would follow my last article with a Part 2.  Now that 2024 marks my 20th year working in Australian migration, I can impart greater wisdom and an even stronger case as to why you should consider engaging a good immigration lawyer:

  • Diagnosing the problem: 

Within an initial consultation and asking the right questions, I can diagnose a client’s ultimate end goal, the hurdles that lie before them, and the visa options that may lie ahead.  Sometimes this visa pathway is linear, with a direct end result of permanent residency.  On other occasions, this pathway may curve and require a client to pursue a number of temporary visa options before they can arrive at the final destination.  This is the expert viewpoint, that is, an understanding of the bigger picture and foreseeing what type of monetary investment could be involved to migrate to Australia.  

  • Putting you on a sustainable visa pathway

I cannot tell you the countless times I have been told by a client that they spoke to friends or family, who suggested that they pursue a particular visa pathway because it worked for them. Only to find out after a visa refusal that this advice was ill-informed and their personal circumstances did not align with the visa requirements. 

In many instances, there is no ‘quick fix it’ visa that will grant you permanent residency to Australia. Many individuals engineer a situation to create such a pathway, but with the global order changing towards tougher migration policies and strong border protection, governments are closing gaps to ensure that individuals cannot submit nonsensical visa applications anymore.

Hence, the right approach is building upon your current and unique personal situation.  By this meaning, understanding whether there is a need to complete additional studies or gain more work experience or seek support from your Australian spouse, to open up more visa options and opportunities (as examples).  This is what a migration lawyer can guide you through, and this approach is certainly more sustainable than choosing a different career path or falsifying stories for the sake of securing a visa, as this has adverse future consequences. 

  • Not everything is on the website

Migration is a dynamic area of law.  It changes weekly and sometimes without notice, the government releases impactful policies that are not published immediately on the Department’s website.  A good migration lawyer is on the pulse of these changes and understands the practical issues of running a visa case and is aware of those invisible issues that cannot be found on websites.  

Engaging M Legal Group at the beginning of your migration journey means you will receive our migration newsletters. More importantly, we will always keep your case in mind over the term of your migration journey that may span many years.  We will reach out to you (or you can ask us questions) if there is a migration law or policy that is beneficial or detrimental to your migration situation.   

If you found this article useful, give us a call and book your consultation with M Legal today!

While this is now old news, we felt that this was still an important change to immigration policy that we would news flash.

The Pandemic Event Visa has officially closed to new applications. As of 2 September 2023, the Pandemic Event visa will only be available to existing Pandemic Event visa holders. 

Why is the Pandemic Event visa closing? 

Now that Australia’s borders are open and temporary visa holder numbers in Australia have returned to pre-COVID levels, The Department of Home Affairs has decided that the Pandemic Event visa will no longer be required. 

Next steps for existing Pandemic Event visa holders and lodged Pandemic Event visa applications

As part of the staged closure: 

  • All visa applications lodged on or after 2 September 2023 will have a stay period in Australia of up to 6 months.
  • All applications lodged on or after 2 September 2023 will incur a Visa Application Charge of AUD405.00.
  • The Pandemic event visa closes to all new applications on 1 February 2024. 
  • At the time of application, you must hold a Pandemic event visa that expires in 28 days or less.
  • Applications lodged before 2 September 2023 will continue to be considered for a period of stay in Australia of up to 12 months. 
  • Your Pandemic Event visa will remain valid until its expiry, or you are granted another visa. 

Next steps for employers preparing for closure 

Employers of a Pandemic Event visa holder should check what their employee’s plans are, including whether they intend to transition to another visa or depart Australia. 

It is the responsibility of employers to ensure that they employ overseas workers with valid visas, otherwise, they risk significant penalties. 

If you found this article useful, give us a call and book your consultation with M Legal today!

Written by Sarah Mathew on behalf of M Legal’s lawyers

Here’s what you need to know and why.

Despite borders opening and tourism being encouraged in Australia while the country’s economy recovers, applicants will find that the Subclass 600 Visitor Visa (600 visa) is not as easy to secure. Refusal of 600 visas has become more common recently.  For this reason, understanding the criteria of the 600 visa is integral to ensure you can put forward the best visa application and obtain a positive outcome.

What is a visitor visa?

The 600 visa is a temporary visa that allows you to visit Australia as a business visitor or see family and friends for up to 12 months. The streams provided under this visa includes:

  • Tourist Stream 
  • Sponsored Family Stream
  • Business Visitor Stream
  • Approved Destination Status Stream
  • Frequent Traveller Stream

*It is important to note that each stream has differing criteria, and as an applicant you need to consider which stream you are applying for, and if you meet the criteria for that particular stream.

Who is eligible for this visa and who would apply?

You would also need to apply for this particular visa on the basis that you do not meet the requirements of an eVisitor (Subclass 651) or an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA). 

The common eligibility for this visa is inclusive of:

  • Intends to visit Australia as a tourist, business visitor, relative of an Australian permanent resident or citizen or ‘other’ reasons allowable under the 600 visa 
  • Having access to or have adequate funds, enough to support your stay in Australia (as well as departure)
  • Being classified as a Genuine Visitor, that is, do you have a genuine intention to stay temporarily in Australia?

This eligibility needs to be thoroughly considered when deciding upon applying for a visitor visa as you will undergo the scrutiny of a Department of Home Affair’s decision maker.

What makes applying for the 600 visa challenging?

We see 600 visa refusals mainly due to applicants failing to meet the ‘Genuine Intention to visit Australia temporarily’.  This appears to have become a focal point in decision makers refusing entry to individuals. 

In determining whether an applicant has a genuine intention to stay temporarily in Australia, a decision maker must consider the following:

  1. Whether the applicant has complied substantially with the conditions of their past visas
  2. Whether the applicant intends to comply with the conditions of their 600 visa
  3. Any other relevant matter

(b) and (c) are usually the two considerations where the decision maker has quite a broad discretion to consider a number of factors to be able to finally assess if the applicant can meet the genuine intention criteria.  This unfortunately can lead to unfair findings made by the Department’s case officer.

Some of the considerations for (b) are:

  • Adverse information or allegations against any applicant or a contact in Australia
  • Financial support during the applicant’s stay (without engaging in any work in Australia)…

Some of the considerations for (c) are:

  • Your employment and financial conditions
  • Economic, social and political situation relative to the applicant’s home or usual country of residence
  • Incentive to return to their home country or usual country of residence…

Why is this important to understand?

A lot of clients believe that applying for a 600 visa is straightforward.  In most cases it can be, however at other times, understanding how to put the best case forward by applying the laws, making succinct arguments and supporting the case with the right evidence, can improve your chances of success towards a positive visa outcome.

This is particularly important as overseas applicants mostly do not have a right of appeal of any 600 refusal decision.

The 600 visa stands as one of the most popular immigration visas, and thus, due to the high number of applications received by the Department of Home Affairs each year, the legislation for approval of this visa is strict and non-negotiable.  

M Legal’s lawyers’ experience makes us well equipped to help navigate and give you clarity on this entire process. With our knowledge, we can assist you with your next 600 visa application and put the most robust case together for you to make this work easier for you.

Contact Us

If you found this article useful, give us a call and book in your consultation with M Legal today!

Written by Sarah Mathew on behalf of M Legal’s lawyers.

As we enter a new phase of COVID-19, there are more uncertain times ahead for all of us.  From an immigration perspective, tighter measures are being enforced by Australia’s border security and we urge travelers in and out of the country, to consult with immigration experts if they have concerns or questions about their migration situation.

It is important we share the right information given that government policy is changing rapidly and is having a far-reaching impact on individual movement.

What we do know

  • There are travel bans for those who are arriving (and transiting) from Mainland China, Iran, South Korea, and Italy.  Australian citizens and permanent residents traveling from these countries are exempted from this ban.
  • If you are arriving in Australia from any other country, you are required to self-isolate for 14 days.  Heavy penalties will apply in some States if you do not abide by this guideline;
  • International cruise ships are banned from arriving in Australia for the next 30 days
  • If you are an on-shore tourist visa holder wishing to extend your stay, the Department has put into place some arrangements to grant extensions.  Please contact M Legal should you be considering to extend your stay.    

What we don’t know

  • As the government diverts resources to dealing with the COVID-19 migration matters, it is undetermined whether this will have a major impact on other visa categories processing timeframes
  • If there could be a response by the government to slow down the grant of all temporary visas for individuals applying off-shore
  • What other travel bans are on-foot and will be implemented soon

We highly recommend that you consult M Legal before making travel arrangements or apply for a visa for Australia.  We continue to stay abreast of the latest advice from both the Australian Department of Health and NSW Health as well as the Department of Home Affairs so that we can inform our clients accordingly.

On behalf of everyone in M Legal, we hope you and your family stay safe.