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Immigration Law

Immigration law is the area of law that is concerned with the requirements surrounding migration into Australia. People may want to move to Australia for a variety of reasons, such as work, study, opportunity or safety. The array of visas available reflect this.

By contrast, the process of someone leaving their home country to live in a new one is called emigration. Although the concept of immigration is global, regulations surrounding immigration are unique to each country.

There are many visas under which a person can live and work in Australia, and all have different requirements.

Some of the most common visas people wishing to come to Australia can obtain are:

  • Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) Visa subclass 482
  • Skilled Independent Visa subclass 189
  • Partner Visa subclass 801
  • Significant Investor Visa subclass 188
  • Visitor visa subclass 651

Although the process under which people move to another country is called migration, the process by which someone becomes a citizen of a foreign country is called naturalisation.


Immigration law is legislated by the Federal Government. This predominantly falls under the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) and Migration Regulations 1994 (Cth). Immigration requirements are also set out under immigration instruments which serve as legislation. It’s important to note that immigration rules are constantly being altered and updated.

The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) administers the above migration laws. Those wishing to review decisions made by the Department can lodge a review with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).

What is an Immigration Lawyer?

Immigration lawyers can provide professional advice for a variety of immigration issues, for example, if you encounter any difficulties with the immigration process or you are unsure of the best option for your situation. Most commonly, immigration lawyers will assist foreign citizens with their pathway into Australia but can also assist in cases where visa or citizenship status is being contested.

Why do I need an Immigration Lawyer?

When applying for a visa or citizenship in Australia there are a range of legal options you will need to consider to ensure your needs are adequately met. Some instances where you may need to consult an immigration lawyer include:

  • If you are applying for family visas
  • If you are applying for business or working visas
  • If you are trying to acquire Australian citizenship
  • If you have been refused a visa or your visa has been cancelled and require assistance with appealing the decision
  • If you require assistance with sponsorship or nomination
  • If you require help when drafting your application

As there are a variety of visas that provide pathways into Australia, seeking advice from an immigration lawyer can ensure you gain the best options for you, your family and/or your business.

What will an Immigration Lawyer provide?

Australian citizenship and immigration can be a complex and sometimes confusing process. This stressful process can be made easier by an immigration lawyer who can provide advice and guidance whilst helping you deal with the paperwork. Our network of immigration lawyers will provide you with the right legal advice and documents that you will need throughout the visa or citizenship process while ensuring you receive the best possible outcome.

How Much will an Immigration Lawyer Charge?

Legal costs can be unpredictable and expensive. They are the last thing you want to deal with during an already stressful immigration process. Immigration lawyers can charge on a fixed price or hourly basis depending on the scope of the work.

Our aim at LawPath is to provide you with legal options that are affordable, fast and suited to your needs. We’ll connect you with immigration lawyers most suited to your individual needs. This allows you to choose the solution which is best tailored to your situation.

Hourly rates and Court fees

The cost of an Immigration Lawyer will vary based on the scope of the work. Small issues likely to be addressed quickly will cost less. For matters that will need to go to the relevant Court or Tribunal, there may be additional fees involved, particularly as this work takes time. These types of matters may also involve obtaining documents and negotiating with the other party.

What can an Immigration Lawyer legally charge?

Legal costs can rise very quickly, especially in litigation. However, this is sometimes hard to avoid when work is being done by a lawyer on an hourly basis. Where fixed-fees are not offered by the lawyer, you should expect to be invoiced on a monthly basis with a time period within which you are required to make payment. Lawyers are required to adhere to the rules outlined in the relevant acts. For example, in NSW and Victoria, this is the Legal Profession Uniform Law 2014. Lawyers who do not comply with these rules can face disciplinary action from the law society of their State.

Lawyers are required to provide to their clients a document called a ‘costs disclosure’ if your costs will be higher than $750.00. This document will outline how costs will be calculated in relation to your case. Also be mindful that costs are divided into ‘professional costs’ and ‘disbursements’, and you will be expected to pay for both. Professional costs are the costs of the actual work done by the lawyer, whilst disbursements cover incidentals such as court filing fees, telephone calls, photocopying charges – amongst other things.

What if I don’t agree with the costs?

You have the right to request an itemised bill that will outline how much time was spent on each task in relation to your matter, and how this adds up to the fee you’re requested to pay. If you wish to dispute the cost, you can make a complaint to the The Office of the Legal Services Commissioner (OLSC) and they will investigate the matter and may allocate a costs assessor. You can also take further legal action in the Courts if you feel you have been unfairly charged.

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