Frequently Asked Questions
There is rarely a simple answer to a question about immigration law, and short answers should never be substituted for thorough legal advice. However, some questions are asked more often than others, and this section may answer some of yours. Please bear in mind that every case is different and the answers to these questions will likely vary depending on your individual circumstances.
To consult an immigration lawyer about a question you have, please contact us today.
Why do I need an immigration lawyer?
While many people decide to complete visa applications without professional assistance, migration law is an area of law that changes regularly. An immigration lawyer will help you decide which visa is best suited to your circumstances based on the current legislative requirements. They will also be able to assist with your application by ensuring that it contains the most relevant and complete documentation, and monitor the progress of your application by liaising with the Department of Immigration or the Tribunal or Court that is handling your matter.
Many migration service providers are staffed by migration agents who are not lawyers. Our staff comprises lawyers who benefit from the years of training and solid legal background that a law degree provides. This benefit naturally extends to our clients. Additionally, only a lawyer, and not a migration agent, will be able to represent you in a court of law, should your matter require it.
Which type of visa I should apply for / which one is the right one for me?
There are almost 100 types of visas with many internal streams that allow non-Australian citizens to visit, work and live in Australia. As such, it can be confusing to find the one best suited to your circumstances. The type of visa you should apply for will depend on several factors, including:
- whether you are planning to come to Australia for the purpose of visiting, working, or studying
- whether you have someone in Australia who is able to sponsor you (for example, a family member, partner, or employer)
- whether you are currently in Australia or hold an Australian visa and wish to extend your stay
- the country from which you are applying
- how long you intend to remain in Australia
You should visit our services page to gain an overview of the different types of visas.
What if my visa application is refused?
If your visa application is refused by the Department of Immigration, you may have the right to have the decision reviewed by the relevant Tribunal (Migration Review Tribunal, Refugee Review Tribunal, or Administrative Appeals Tribunal). If you choose to have a Tribunal review the decision, a Tribunal member will look at your case and you will be able to submit new evidence and, in many cases, clarify any confusion about your original application. You have a strict time frame in which to lodge an application for review and the Tribunals generally charge an application fee.
Your visa will remain valid only until the date specified on your refusal notification letter, which is the time during which you must apply for review. In order to adhere to the time limits imposed, it is best to seek professional assistance from an immigration lawyer.
If the Tribunal decides to uphold the original decision of the Department of Immigration, you may have a limited opportunity to file an appeal in court to overturn the decision. If you are considering going to court, you will need the assistance of an immigration lawyer.
What if I do not pass health requirements?
If you do not pass the relevant health requirements for your visa, it is likely that your visa will be refused by the Department of Immigration. If this is the case, you may have a right to review the decision in the relevant tribunal. Your notification letter will outline these rights to you. It is often very difficult to overturn a departmental decision on health grounds, and it is advisable to seek advice for your case.
What are ‘Character’ requirements?
The Department of Immigration, when assessing your visa application, must take into consideration whether you are of good character. Character issues may include past criminal records, involvement in criminal activities, fraudulent activities, and providing false or misleading documentation, etc.
What conditions apply to my visa?
Many visas are granted subject to certain conditions. Common conditions can limit your work rights, study rights, or ability to apply for another visa while in Australia. Once you have been granted a visa, the conditions attached to that visa should be outlined in the approval letter you receive from the Department of Immigration and will be printed on your visa label (conditions are identified by a 4-digit number, beginning with the number 8). If you are unsure about which conditions are attached to your visa, you should seek clarification.
Can I renew my visa to stay longer in Australia?
A visa cannot be renewed, but in cases where you do not have a No Further Stay condition attached to your visa, you may be permitted to lodge a new visa application to extend your stay in Australia. If you do not apply for a new visa before your current visa expires, you will become unlawful and your options become severely limited. It is advisable to seek professional assistance regarding your options.
What if my visa expires?
If you have lodged an application for a new visa while holding another valid visa in Australia, the first visa will remain in effect until it expires. If the new visa is granted, it will replace the first visa. If the first visa does expire while you are waiting for a decision from the Department of Immigration, you will generally be granted a bridging visa, which allows you to remain lawful in Australia during the processing of your application. It is best to consult an immigration professional to be sure whether you will be granted a bridging visa in this situation.
When do I get citizenship /get an Australian passport?
You must apply for citizenship, and it will not automatically be granted to you after any amount of time on a permanent visa. The Australian Citizenship Act 2007 came into effect on 1 July 2007, entirely replacing the Citizenship Act 1958. There are now different provisions for people seeking citizenship who became permanent residents before 1 July 2007 and those who became permanent residents after 1 July 2007. Changes were made to the amount of time you must live in Australia before applying for citizenship. In addition, there is also a citizenship test, a multiple choice computer-based test that you must pass to obtain citizenship.
Other important changes took effect with the new Citizenship Act and if you have any questions, you should seek advice. Once you are granted citizenship, you can obtain an Australian passport from any approved passport issuer, for example, an Australia Post Office.
What is the difference between Permanent Residence and Citizenship?
Australian permanent residents and Australian citizens enjoy many of the same benefits. However, permanent residency can be revoked under certain circumstances. If you are a permanent resident and you are convicted of a crime while holding your permanent visa, for example, your status in Australia is at risk and you are subject to visa cancellation and deportation.
Many people live in Australia for years, even decades, as permanent residents without officially becoming citizens. However, your status in Australia is far more secure if you become a citizen.
Do you take on all Immigration and visa clients?
We will only proceed with a matter where we believe that there is a reasonable prospect of success. If we believe this is not the case, we will tell you.
We can also only take on matters where there is no conflict of interest.
I live interstate/overseas, Can you still help me?
Jobportunity has clients across Australia and the rest of the world. We can work with you in person, by email, telephone or Skype.
Can you help me migrate to States/Territories other than New South Wales?
While our head office is in Sydney, Australia, we regularly help clients migrate to all states and territories of Australia.
Do you guarantee work visa or immigration success?
The Migration Agents Code of Conduct strictly forbids Migration Agents or Lawyers from guaranteeing success. Any agent or Lawyer who makes such a guarantee should be viewed with extreme caution.
What we can guarantee is that we will give you your best chance of getting into Australia, or staying in Australia.
Have any other questions?
Call +61 0422 869 628 right now to organise a consultation today or send us an enquiry