The recently passed Migration Amendment Bill 2019 means that as of March 2021, you no longer need to be a registered migration agent to provide legal advice.
And the timing could not be more serendipitous.
With the fallout of COVID-19 sabotaging many people’s plans of crossing international borders, there’s never been a more urgent need for immigration advice. Nor has there ever been a greater opportunity for lawyers looking to specialise in this space.
Here’s what you need to know to capitalise on these changes.
When COVID-19 hit, many people in Australia found their travel plans had unwillingly and unexpectedly changed. At the same time, Aussies abroad were finding it exceedingly difficult to return home.
These pressures all amount to one glaring fact: there’s a desperate need for migration legal services in Australia right now. And there will be for a long time to come.
That’s where you come in.
Before the incoming amendment, it has been an offence for Australian legal practitioners to advise on immigration law (a misdeed that would cost you 60 penalty units or a whopping $13,320). A lawyer’s only option was to register as a migration agent – which is a costly and time-consuming process.
But, after March 2021, an Australian practising certificate is all you’ll need to advise on immigration law.
Although you now don’t need a specific qualification to deliver immigration advice, you do need to acquire new knowledge and skills to ensure you advise your clients accurately.
For example, you will need to understand:
You will also need to know how to:
If your client wants to appeal a decision relating to their visa application, you’ll 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:
And if a court date is set, you’ll also need the skills to speak on behalf of your client during the hearing.
Do 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. This process can be costly – and extremely stressful for those involved.
That’s why, if you want to work in this area, it’s crucial to have the right training on how to deal with the AAT.
With mere months until these changes come into play, now’s the time to sharpen your skillset in immigration law. A world of opportunity awaits – for those who are ready to grasp it with both hands.
The evolution and rise in online dispute resolution (Centre for Legal Innovation)