Australian immigration and citizenship law, governed by the Migration Act 1958 (Cth), the Migration Regulations 1994, and the Australian Citizenship Act 2007 (Cth) is incredibly complex. The legislation establishes and regulates multiple types of visas and sub-categories of each.

It is vital that visa and citizenship applicants and holders, plan their strategy early to ensure their ultimate immigration status offers them the best chance of achieving their long-term goals. Goals include working for an employer, hiring a specific skill set for a business, living in a certain area, joining a partner in Australia, leaving an abusive relationship whilst remaining in Australia, or one of the many other resultant situations immigration decisions will determine.

Whether you’re an individual or an organisation/employer, I provide immigration law advice on a wide range of matters, including first visa applications, subsequent visa applications/transitioning between visas, the family violence provisions, ‘Schedule 3’ issues, visa cancellations and obtaining citizenship or having it revoked. I provide this advice in relation to numerous visa categories, including but not limited to skilled visas, employer-sponsored visas, family visas, visitor visas, bridging visas and resident return visas. Utilising the commercial acumen gained over my 22-year career, I provide commercially focused immigration advice to organisations who wish to hire the best overseas talent as well as organisational obligations/regulatory compliance to standard business sponsors, with a particular focus on those in the tech industry and start-ups/non-traditional business models.

Using my experience in law enforcement and criminal, government and private company investigation, I advise on sensitive and complex immigration issues, such as obtaining/retaining partner visas following the end of relationships/family violence claims and visa cancellations/citizenship issues due to criminal charges and convictions.

Below is a summary of some Australian visa categories and immigration situations. If you require advice on anything not covered below, please contact me to discuss.

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Work visas

There are various categories of ‘work’ visas that Australia offers to eligible applicants.

Broadly, they can be split into three main categories: (1) employer sponsored (meaning you have an Australian employer who will sponsor you to work in a nominated position); (2) State/Territory sponsored (meaning you must be nominated by an Australian State or Territory and be invited to apply for the visa); and (3) non-sponsored (meaning you do not have to already have/identify an Australian employer or be invited by a State or Territory, but you do want to be employed whilst onshore).

The intention of work visas is to address Australia’s labour shortages by allowing employers to hire skilled workers of specific occupations and with stipulated experience, who are not Australian permanent residents/citizens when that employer cannot source an Australian worker.

  • This is an employer-sponsored visa.
  • Four types: (1) short term; (2) medium term; (3) Labour Agreement Stream; and (4) subsequent entrant.
  • This is a temporary visa (not a permanent visa) but may be a first step to a permanent visa, depending on one’s particular circumstances.
  • This is an employer-sponsored visa.
  • Three types: (1) Employer Sponsored; (2) Labour Agreement Stream; and (3) subsequent entrant.
  • This is a provisional visa, meaning that it’s a temporary visa that provides a pathway to a permanent visa.
  • It requires the employee to work in a designate regional area.
  • In this case, the subclass 494 will lead to the subclass 491 if the eligibility requirements are met.
  • This is an employer-nominated visa.
  • Three types: (1) Direct Entry; (2) Labour Agreement; (3) Temporary Residence Transition.
  • This is a permanent visa/provides permanent residency.
  • This is a temporary visa.
  • It is limited to a maximum stay of six months.
  • You are not required to have an employer.
  • It is intended for applicants who work in highly specialised areas, but which work is not ongoing.


The intention of family visas is to reunite families and enable them to live in Australia, either on a temporary but long-term basis or permanently. A relevant family member can be a partner (de facto or spouse), a parent, or a child. Other types of visas are available for other situations, such as adoption, relatives who are orphaned, aged dependants and ‘remaining’ relatives.

If you would like to discuss any of the latter situations, please arrange an initial consultation through the ‘Contact’ page. Otherwise, here is a summary of the most common family visas, the partner visas. All partner visas are intended to result in permanent residency and are split into two main categories: (1) the Prospective Marriage (subclass 300); and (2) the Partner Visa (subcategorised into onshore/offshore and temporary/permanent).

  • Intended for those with plans to marry an Australian citizen, permanent resident or Eligible New Zealand Citizen (the Sponsor) and who are outside Australia as at the date of application.
  • The visa applicant must be outside of Australia when they apply and when the Department of Immigration makes the decision to grant or refuse the visa.
  • The visa holder must enter and marry the Sponsor by the date specified in the visa grant letter (usually nine months of the date of visa grant).
  • If you intend to remain in Australia, once married and before the visa expiry date, you must apply for a Partner (subclass 820 and 801) visa.
  • Intended for de-facto partners not intending to marry their Australian/Eligible New Zealand Citizen partner in the short term or spouses (already married to their Australian/Eligible New Zealand Citizen partner) and who are offshore at the time of application and at the time of decision.
  • Two years following the date of application of the subclass 309 visa and if the relationship is continuing, the visa holder may apply for the Partner (Permanent) (subclass 100) Visa.
  • Intended for de-facto partners not intending to marry their Australian/Eligible New Zealand Citizen partner in the short term or spouses (already married to their Australian/Eligible New Zealand Citizen partner) and who are onshore at the time of application and at the time of decision.
  • Two years following the date of application of the subclass 820 visa and if the relationship is continuing, the visa holder may apply for the Partner (Permanent) (subclass 801) Visa.
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Bridging Visas are a type of ‘non-substantive’ visa which mechanism is to ensure someone who does not have a substantive visa for whatever reason, is able to remain in Australia lawfully. There are different types of bridging visas and it is possible to have been granted more than one over the course of your immigration history. It is important to know which bridging visa is in operation, what restrictions it may require you to adhere to and how it impacts your ability to apply for substantive visas. You can leave Australia at any time, but if you hold certain bridging visas, you may not be able to return, so seeking legal advice is advised.

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Australian Citizenship

Transitioning from permanent residency to Australian citizenship has advantages. But, applying for Australian citizenship is not always straight forward depending on your particular circumstances which may involve extended periods of time spent offshore, criminal convictions, lack of identity documents, or previous immigration issues.

If your application for citizenship is refused there are options that can be explored. However, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible.

It is possible to renounce or even resume, your Australian citizenship in various circumstances, but both involve complicated legal considerations and receiving advice from an immigration lawyer is recommended.

It is also possible to have Australian citizenship revoked if serious offences have been committed including third-party fraud in the process of applying for citizenship. A conviction of 12 months or more (even if that conviction occurred prior to citizenship being granted), renders revocation a possibility. Revocation of citizenship is a serious issue and can result in you being required to leave Australia. It is important that legal advice is sought at the earliest opportunity.

Visa Cancellation

Any subclass of visa, including permanent, can be cancelled. You will likely receive a notice of intended cancellation before the visa is actually cancelled. But, whether you’ve received a notice or your visa has actually been cancelled, statutory time limits apply and must be complied with. It is imperative that you seek legal advice immediately.

Other Types of Visa/
Immigration Issue

  • Business Visas
  • Humanitarian Visas
  • Education and Training Visas
  • Confirmatory (Residence) Visa
  • Special Category Visa
  • Investor Retirement Visa
  • Medical Treatment Visa
  • Resident Return Visa
  • Former Resident Visa
  • Crew Travel Authority Visa
  • Maritime Crew Visa
  • Graduate Temporary Work Visa
  • Immigration Detention
  • Administrative Appeals Tribunal
  • Judicial Review
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