Here are three thoughts from our practice leader, Troy Andres (aside: the idea of three random thoughts is taken from a podcast called 5 thoughts by Thinking Basketball – have a listen if you love all things NBA).


When will the borders reopen?

Along with the rest of the industry, we are ruminating, speculating and wondering when the Australian Government will lift the travel restrictions particularly in light of the numerous media reports around the many temporary visa holders stranded abroad.  There are reports of hundreds of travel exemption refusals however the statistics made public by the department paint a very different picture.

Inwards Commissioner Discretions

2 February 2020 to 6 May 2020

Inwards Commissioner Discretions Table

What we do know is that there is a softening of some inbound travel exemptions particularly if you have support from your Local Member of Parliament.  Therein remains the key pathway for returning if you are temporary visa holder stranded abroad and have some compassionate ties to an Australian citizen or permanent resident.

In addition, the universities and other education providers, backed by state governments, have proposed “secure corridors” that would allow a small number of international students to return this year ahead of large-scale arrivals from next year.  We expect further announcements around returning student visa holders in July 2020 but we understand that these exemptions will be specifically for mature aged students in their final year of study.

For temporary work visa holders, the likelihood, despite the efforts of the corporate sector to provide ‘secure corridors’ for key staff, is that the travel restrictions will be in place until 2021.


The practice of immigration law in Australia is a peculiar affair.

For lawyers, we are bound by the rules of the presiding Law Society of our respective State, whilst also being subject to the rules stipulated by the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority.

After more than six years of debate, the practice of immigration law will now have a clear and unambiguous demarcation.  You can either practice as a lawyer or a migration agent:

Removal of legal practitioners must commence within 9 months from the date the Bill receives Royal Assent (ie. 23 March 2021) and:

  • removes legal practitioners with unrestricted practicing certificates (UPC) from regulation by the MARA, such that it will be unlawful for UPC holders to be registered as RMAs. Penalty – 100 Commonwealth penalty units = $210,000
  • provides restricted practicing certificate (RPC) holders with a two-year eligible period in which holders of a RPC may also remain registered as an RMA and while working towards their UPC.

As an incorporated legal practice specialising in immigration law, we welcome this change and look forward to being able to unravel the bureaucracy that has long complicated the practice of immigration law in Australia.


We are here.

This is now.


The bushfires, Kobe Bryant’s death, COVID-19, social-distancing, JobKeeper, global travel bans, lockdown, George Floyd and so on.

Where exactly are we?

It feels like we are on the cusp of something, however I cannot quite put my finger on what that is.  I guess that’s why it’s called the cusp.

Over the last few months, I have heard countless people use the term pivot.  For me, pivot relates almost entirely to basketball.  When one is in a triple threat position, you can change angles against a defender to enable a drive, a dish or a shot by pivoting.

For some reason, pivot became a new buzzword for businesses and entrepreneurs doing their thing amidst an economic climate geared towards seeing them fail.  I do not see this as a pivot.  I see this as doing your job.

Nothing special.

We are meant to constantly ‘pivot’ because the very nature of business is about growing.  It is a human creation and as such we get to decide what ‘it’ does each and every day.

This reminds me of something a colleague of mine once said.  Everyone can make money during a boom.  It’s the other times that count.

I guess that colleague was referring to times like these.   Times when our circumstances force us to rethink, reimagine, and recreate ourselves and what we do.

Without the support of an incredible business partner and team, who have planted one foot and danced around ideas to keep us relevant and active, we would have shrunk rather than expanded.

Instead, we are on the cusp.