Positioning And Pathways And Fees (Putting All One's Eggs In One Basket)




Check List Using The Regulations As A Template eg - Spouse Visa

Get Enough Sleep

Visa Application And Associated Costs

Preserving Records

Record Keeping And Management - How Long Do Documents Have To Be Kept?

Initial Requirements Regarding Accepting A Retainer

Failure Of Proper File Management Can Lead To Suspension As A Migration Agent


Confidentiality & Notifying The Client Of Complaint Procedure

Give Your Client A Copy Of Everything

Give Your Client The Bad News Immediately

Take Care While On Holidays

Clients & English

Check Special Requirements For Offshore Visas With The Embassy's Or Consulate's Website

Don't Accept Immigration's Assertion That Decisions Have Been Made Properly

Have No Fear Of Appeals

Never Advise Your Client To Make Life Changing Decisions Prior To The Grant Of A Visa & Trust Your Instincts

Before You Set The Fee With Your Client And Before You File A Visa Application

Oral Instructions

What Can Go Wrong If You Don't Record Your Mail Properly

Application Fee For A Visa



Prepare Your Client For The Oath

Client Dress

Policy VS Law

Ideas For Chronologies For Client Files

Immigration Goes Into Hibernation On 30 June Each Year

Australia Closes Down Between Christmas & New Year

Have An Industrial Strength Office Set Up At The Office And At Home

What Is A Permanent Residence Visa?

Note Taking

Translating Documents

General Issues

Practice Together Or Practice In Groups

Time Limits

A Proper Email Account And Email Management

Undercharging And Undercutting On Fees

Tourist Visas

Positioning And Pathways And Fees (Putting All One's Eggs In One Basket)

Email & Fax Communication & Errors With Credit Cards Emerge As Troubling Issues

Preparing A Client For Merit Review Hearings Or Interviews With DIBP

Accountants And Migration Law


Berenguel - Sometimes Time Of Application Criteria Can Be Met At Time Of Decision

Bare Faced Liars & The Fraudsters

Everyone's Doing It

Bridging Visas

Visas Remain Current Until Midnight

Immigration Closes At 4pm

Looking After Secondary Visa Holders In A Visa Cancellation Process

Applying As A Secondary Visa Applicant Onshore When The Primary Visa Applicant Is Offshore

Being Illegal

Essential Prerequisites For A Ministerial Discretion Application

Last Lunge Applications

State And Territory Sponsorship


Believing The Client

Follow Up

Make Peace With The Tax Office

No Obligation On Immigration To Chase Up Information Or Documents From Migration Agents Or Lawyers Representing A Client

Errors In Visa Applications

Spouse Visas - Unexplained Large Deposits of Money

Managing No. 8503 On Tourist Visas

Medical Consent

Statutory Declarations

Merit Review

Tax Deductibility of Migration Advice


Dates On Documents And Names On Documents

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Take A Statement

Case Management Software

Work Rights


Check All Past Visa Applications

Revealing Convictions

Visa Holders Being On Their Best Behaviour

Email Communication With Immigration - Delete All Strings

No Without Prejudice Conversations With Immigration

Accounts Managements

What Is A Secondary Visa?

Identify Australian Citizens Who Support An Applicant


Schedule 1 Criteria

Second Thing To Do On Starting A File - Download The Relevant Part Of The Law

First Thing To Do When Starting Any File - Identify Any 'Rights Destroying' Deadlines

Lodging Paper Applications

Social Media & Smart Phones


Disputes About Parentage And Children

Helping People Pass The English Tests

Managing Emails

What Is The Pomodoro Technique?

Immigration Telephones Client

When Is A Visa Application Made In Australia

Apply For A Visa In Australia

No Visa Application Is An Island

The Hammock Principle


Migration practice is about positioning a client for the visa.  Positioning is then about pathways.  Probably the most important question for a client is which visa to apply for.  The rest often is just lacing up.

Proper pathway planning costs money in terms of fees. For example the writer would charge up to $5,000 (or more) for proper pathway planning for a client who had no obvious pathway. First step for any planning is identifying the visa applicant’s level of English. Second step is identifying the applicant’s skill level or business expertise or assets.

The writer on occasion has had both migration agents and clients seeking complex pathway advice, often even for free!  The writer’s constructive criticism of the migration advice industry is that fee discounting is rife and when fees are too low inevitably corners are cut and a lesser job is done for the client. It is important to tell clients that you get what you pay for.

Probably the best quote the writer has read on fees is from Red Adair, the very famous America oil well fire fighter.  When you needed a fire on an oil well put out, he was expert to do it.  He became world famous as an innovator in the highly specialized and extremely hazardous profession of extinguishing and capping blazing oil wells. He said:

If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.

Clients can often get in the way of proper positioning.  And clients need to be told that sometimes you get there faster by going slower.

Clients and their advisers often put all their visa eggs in one basket, rather than positioning oneself for more than one situation or outcome.


Example one – English

It was a primary criteria for the Employer Nomination Scheme visa that the visa holder have a level of English at least a level of 5 in the IELTS. A client from China in his forties had difficulty with English but would not do the work and study necessary to improve his English. His solution was to get a friend to sit the IELTS with predictable results; he was caught out and then had difficulty doing the IELTS again. The solution for this client was to hire a tutor for many hours per week plus disengage from his Chinese friends temporarily and immerse himself in an English language environment.  Instead this client basically sabotaged his own case.  The migration agent was soft on him, telling the client the migration agent understood how hard it was to learn English. The ENS allows an exemption to the English requirement ‘in exceptional circumstances’. Obviously the closer a person gets to 5 the easier it is to prove exceptional circumstances.  This client denied himself the chance of proving exceptional circumstances by not working on his English and he was denied exceptional circumstances.

The solution was for the migration agent to place heavy pressure on the client to learn English.  The migration agent let the client set the agenda whereas the migration agent should set the agenda for the client.

If English is a requirement for a visa, the client needs to be told that there can be no compromise – learn English, or stay at home or go home!


The new skilled points test will only award points for English for an IELTS 7 or 8.  The bar has risen, English skills have become central to successful positioning for permanent residence.  Students in particular need to plan to achieve a score of 8 before they finish their course.

A further point. Students who are still able to apply for the able to  approaching the


Example 2 – finding a spouse

A student was on a pathway to permanent residence, had a positive skill assessment and was certain to be granted the permanent residence 880 visa in due course.

However she fell in love and thought love was forever and ended up marrying her true love. Instead of continuing with the skilled visa application she decided instead to apply for a spouse visa which of course is the two year temporary subclass 820 visa.

The inevitable happened, before she was granted the permanent residence subclass 801 visa the relationship broke up. She became largely stranded, precariously attempting to restore a pathway to permanent residence, a subclass 457 visa being the only viable option.

The lesson, never allow a person to give up a chance for permanent residence. If one spouse member has the chance to get permanent residence without relying on the spouse for that pathway, the independent pathway should always be chosen. Ideally do both, there is no prohibition on applying for more than one visa at the same time. In engineering we use double protection methods as a matter of course like having fire rated walls and a fire extinguisher on the same wall!  Permanent residence is not something to be diced with, always take secure pathways in preference to pathways dependent on others.


Example 3

A family including adult children applied for permanent residence business visas with the adult offspring as secondary visa applicants. One of the adult children had completed studies which would have allowed her to apply for a skilled visa in her own right, but of course, at that time she had to apply within 6 months of completing the course.

Rather than do that, the migration agent advised the family just to leave the adult child within the business visa application as a secondary visa applicant and await the outcome of the business visa decision.

But the primary visa applicant did not end up meeting one of the technical requirements of the business visa and as a result the whole family was refused a visa.

This left the adult offspring scrambling for visas and the advice given in that case was using the rescue strategy of applying for working holiday visas, the adult daughter being from Korea.  But all of that was catchup as she was now left trying to apply for an Employer Nomination visa when she could have had permanent residence in her own right years earlier.  The reason is often economic, but what price is permanent residence.

Barbara Davidson