Case study: Complex Visa (Criminal Conviction)

For those with criminal convictions, the Australian immigration process can be complicated and frustrating. Even people with minor convictions may experience potential limits to their freedom of movement. We interviewed one such individual, who allowed us to share some details of his case and his particular experience with the complex visa process. This former client of ours fortunately obtained his visa, allowing him to visit Australia.



Certain opportunities, including the opportunity to visit one’s family, should not be determined by past errors. If you wish to visit Australia and have a criminal conviction, or another type of complex situation, please contact us today.

Migration Agents Forum at Australia House, February 2017: Partner Visa Updates

Sammy Naghi discusses the recent changes to Partner Visas, which were announced at the High Commission of Australia in early March, 2017. Sammy is a dual qualified Solicitor and Barrister of Australia, and a MARA registered migration agent.


What are the ramifications for partner visa applicants completing Medicals and Police Checks at the time of lodgement or too early?

MSL Solicitors was invited by the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) in London to a Migration Agents Forum in February 2017, held at Australia House. Sammy Naghi and Genevieve Katyar of MSL Solicitors attended this event, which was aimed at further strengthening the positive and professional relationships between the DIBP London team, and the Migration Agents and Lawyers based in the United Kingdom. The forums are used to keep us informed of any legislative, policy and procedural changes.

Among other changes, it was announced that the Australian partner visa processing time has increased significantly from 6 months to (approximately) 10-14 months. We have many clients applying for partner visas; like others, they are patiently waiting in the queue, they are expecting their visas to be processed in 6 months, and they are making arrangements to leave the UK. We have notified all our affected clients, and have adjusted their expectations accordingly so that they can pan ahead for the future. Another issue springs to mind. When should Migration Agents and Lawyers, like MSL Solicitors, recommend that their clients get their medicals and police checks completed?


If I complete any medicals (health) or police (character) checks earlier, does this reduce the processing time? What, if any, are the ramifications?

Health and character checks are usually valid for 12 months from the date of clearance. Obtaining health and character checks earlier will not reduce the processing time for your application, but will determine the date by which you have to travel to Australia if your visa is granted. If these checks are done too early, it may mean that you only have a short time frame in which to enter Australia. Moreover, if they expire, you may need request them again in order for your visa to be granted.


How long will the processing of an Australian partner visa take and what is the reason that the length of wait time for these visas increased by so much as of February 2017?

The current processing time for Australian Partner Migration, processed at the Australian High Commission in London, is at least 10 – 14 months from the date you lodged your application. This time frame is based on the number of applications currently awaiting processing, and the planning levels available in the family stream of the Australian migration program, which is set by the Australian Government as part of the Budget.

The department currently receives more applications than there are places available in the family stream of the migration program. This means that there is some increase in processing times for these visas.

It is therefore recommended that you do not do your medicals or police checks early, or make any irreversible action during the processing of your application (such as ceasing employment, selling property or purchasing airline tickets).



S. Naghi, 2017

This article demonstrates some of the complexities that surround Australian migration law and policy, and highlights some benefits of having representation from a MARA Agent or Migration Lawyer who can help you navigate your way through these obstacles and keep you updated about important changes.


Please contact us +44 (0)2078326400, or email if you are interested in finding out more about our legal services.


DIBP Holiday Closure Dates

Please note the following closure dates of the DIBP.

Departmental offices will be closed on the following dates:

  • 26 December 2016 Boxing Day
  • 27 December 2016 Christmas Day
  • 28 December 2016 Additional (APS) Holiday
  • 2 January 2017 New Years Day

For more information, please visit the Migration Institute of Australia website.

australia Visa services

Notice for Australian visa allocations to subclass 190

Our Australian Immigration Solicitor and MARA Registered Migration Agent Sammy Naghi has confirmed that the Australian Government has used up all visas allocated to subclass 190 visa applicants under the skilled nominated category for the 2014-15 program year.

Our clients who were due to receive their subclass 190 visa grants received the following notice from individual case officers at the Department if Immigration and Border Protection below:

Thank you for providing the checks as requested. All health results have been received.Please note the following:

The visa for which you have applied is part of the Skilled Nominated category. The Migration Programme determines the maximum number of visas that can be granted in each visa category. Applications for this visa are processed in line with Migration Programme planning levels. These planning levels have precedence over indicative client service standard timeframes.

The Migration Programme planning level for the Skilled Nominated category now has limited number of places left for the 2014-15 program year. This means processing times will be longer and that once the remaining places are used, the Department cannot grant further visas in this category during this programme year.

As planning levels affect all applications, including those in the final stages of processing, I cannot give you an indication as to the likely timeframe for finalisation of your application.

In the meantime, I encourage you to continue checking the department’s website ( for any updates regarding application processing or changes to the Skilled Migration Programme which may affect you.

I appreciate your patience in this matter.”

This basically means these people affected will receive their visa after 1 July 2015 when the 2015-16 program year begins and the numbers (visa grants) are reset.

business migrating

DIBP working to expand WHV program

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) is looking to expand our country’s Working Holiday Visa (WHV) program to include more partner countries.

As it stands, 19 countries are on the WHV list. These include Canada, France, Germany, China and the United Kingdom, to name just a few. The full list can be found here.

Now, the DIBP is looking to add Greece, Mexico, Spain, Poland and Israel into the mix, along with a number of other countries.
In order to apply for a WHV – either a subclass 417 or subclass 462 – you need to meet a number of requirements. For instance, you must:

– be aged between 18 and 30 when you submit your application for these migration visas
– hold a current passport for one of the WHV programs’ partner countries
– meet health, character and financial requirements
– not bring dependent children with you to Australia

The subclass 462 visa has a few additional requirements attached to it. These include having “functional” English, completing at least two years of tertiary study at an undergraduate level and possessing a “letter of home government support”, states the DIBP.

If you would like to know more about our WHV program, get in touch with migration agents in Australia today.

Family Visa Australia

DIBP launches campaign to celebrate Australian citizenship

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) has launched a social media campaign to celebrate 65 years of Australian citizenship.

If you’re interested in submitting citizenship application yourself, make sure you get in touch with us we will be able to explain the process and help you become a part of history!
Since the concept of Australian citizenship was introduced in 1949, a whopping 4.5 million people have become citizens. During its first year in existence, Australian citizenship was granted to 2,493 people from over 35 different countries.
That may seem like a lot, but when these statistics are compared with the 123,438 people from over 190 different countries who were granted Australian citizenship in 2012-13, it’s evident how far we’ve come.

In fact, Australia Day (January 26) alone saw nearly 18,000 people become citizens!
It’s not just the number of people vying for citizenship that’s changed over the years, either. In 1949, our country’s largest suppliers of new citizens were Italy, Poland, Greece, Germany and Yugoslavia, respectively.

In the present day, the United Kingdom, India, Philippines, China and South Africa have taken the top five spots.
It’s changes such as these and the stories of those who have made the journey to Australia over the past six decades that will be the focus of the DIBP’s year-long social media campaign.
A spokesman announced that, throughout 2014, the DIBP will be publishing a web series titled “The Pledge” as part of the social media campaign.
This will provide readers with “an insight into the citizenship journeys of Australians from different walks of life,” he said in a January 28 statement.

The DIBP is also asking people at all stages of the immigration process – from those who have just been granted immigration visas to those who have already taken the final step and become full-fledged Australian citizens – to share their experiences on various social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
“Australia is a patchwork of cultures and stories – this campaign aims to showcase the variety of journeys Australia’s citizens have experienced, and I encourage everyone to get involved and tell their story” concluded the spokesman.

If you would like to become a part of this patchwork, get in touch with us we can help you organize a citizenship or permanent residency visa or simply offer you advice on the immigration process.

Australian Visa Services

Ai Group calls for larger migration program

The Australian Industry Group has announced that our country’s migrant intake should be increased to help alleviate skills shortages cropping up in various sectors.

Innes Willox, chief executive of the Australian Industry Group, said the number of people arriving in our country on migration visas needs to rise from 190,000 (the current intake) to at least 220,000 by the 2014-15 financial year.

She added that emphasis needs to be on skilled migration through channels such as the 457 visa program “in order to meet current and future skills shortages”.

These comments were all part and parcel of a submission the Australian Industry Group made to the federal government in the hope it would encourage Tony Abbott to spare a thought for the size of our country’s migration program before it’s set in stone as part of the May budget.

Ms Willox explained, the Australian Industry Group’s proposed increase of the migration program “takes into account the proven benefits to the economy” of such a program.

“An increase in migrant numbers supports positive growth in our population and especially in our adult workforce, which is important due to relatively low rates of natural population growth,” she said in a January 13 statement.

In addition to this, Australia’s unemployment rates are currently at an all-time low, and our workforce is ageing. A whopping 9 per cent of all employees are now 60 years old or more, and 17 per cent are 55 years old or more.

There are also “persistent skill shortages” in a number of our country’s most important sectors, such as mining, infrastructure, engineering and health care.

Ms Willox said that on top of all this, a recovering property market, as evidenced by the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) latest report on dwelling approvals, could lead to “further skilled trade shortages” as we head toward the end of the decade.

“This will be exacerbated by the flow of construction workers into the mining sector and reduced trades apprenticeship numbers in recent years,” she said.

australian passport

Australian Visa Newsflash


Effective from 23 November 2014, temporary workers in Australia can now apply for a Subclass 400 visa with a six month period of stay. Previously regulations only allowed a maximum three months.

In addition, the visa validity has been extended to allow entry within 6 months of grant. The changes make these visas much more flexible for businesses, so will be welcomed by those businesses who need specialists at short notice for discreet short term periods.

The Subclass 400 visa is a short term, temporary work visa for highly specialised assignments in Australia where the individual is urgently required at short notice. The visa does not require employer sponsorship and has far less requirements than the longer term Subclass 457 Temporary skilled work visa.

In order to access the six month visa period, applicant needs to put forward a strong business case detailing the reason for the extended stay in Australia.

The Department of Immigration will consider any of the following:

  • The number of Australians being employed on the project, or within the business;
  • The employment conditions of the applicant, including their salary and whether they are in accordance with local labour market requirements;
  • The size, nature, duration of the project to be carried out and its impact to the local community and potential;
  • Evidence that specialist advice from overseas is required – this may include evidence from an employment agency of a shortage of similarly qualified persons in Australia;
  • Whether there is time available for an Australian worker to be trained to carry out the proposed work.