Moving to Australia with its fantastic work opportunities, great lifestyle and fabulous sceneries is going to be a really exciting time for those wanting to enjoy everything this country has to offer. However, there is a lot of process and procedures to go through, which is why it is key to hire an immigration lawyer in Melbourne to assist you. To help you on this journey, we’ve compiled a list of top questions to ask your immigration lawyer.
1. What is your success rate?
It is important to remember that no lawyer can guarantee a successful outcome, however, you should still check the experience of the legal firm you are considering to hire. Asking about similar cases to your own and their track record in managing these cases is a reasonable request.
2. What are the costs?
You need to be aware of all the costs you will have to pay out, and these include not just the hourly rate of the lawyer but also if there is a deposit or retainer fee that has to be paid up front. Alongside this, there will be other charges that are required by the Australian migration authorities, so make sure they cover these items as well. You can ask if they have a payment plan and if their costs include everything, for example administrative costs such as letters/emails/copying documentation.
3. What written contractual arrangements are in place?
Top immigration lawyers in Melbourne will ensure formal written contracts are in place and will go through the responsibilities and expectations of both parties. Ensure you keep a copy of your contract until you have completed your case as this sets out who is going to carry out what responsibilities, such as filing your application, for example. It also sets out what you will have to do if you need to alter the scope of the lawyer’s services.
4. Are immigration and migration visas the firm’s speciality?
Immigration law globally is constantly changing, and new rules and entry requirements change all the time. You need someone whose main focus is immigration law because they will be able to be proactive and advise you particularly if yours is a unique case. Sometimes law firms who do not specialise in immigration law may not always keep up to speed particularly when the rules and regulations change quickly.
5. Are you an accredited specialist in immigration law?
If you are looking for family migration or require assistance in appealing a migration decision, you need someone who holds formal accreditation and qualifications to be able to deal with any Administrative Appeals Tribunals or Federal Court matters. Being part of a professional associate shows that your lawyer keeps up to date with migration practice and procedures and has also had to reach a certain level to become a member of that association, upholding high standards and quality assurance in their firm.
6. How long have you worked in immigration law?
You are going to be entrusting your future to someone who you are only meeting or communicating with, for the very first time. In the same way that you want to know that your medical practitioner has experience in their sector, you should ask this question of your migration lawyer in Melbourne.
7. What is the best plan of action for my case?
Your lawyer should be prepared to listen to your particular circumstances and objectives in relation to migration. They should then set out a SMART plan of action (specifics, measurable, actions, realistic and timebound) as they will have a good idea of where to go with your application. They should also include a strategy that ensures you have the best possible chance of success, and most lawyers will be able to give you examples of how this has worked for others in similar circumstances.
8. What are my chances of being successful?
As noted, there are no guarantees and you should avoid a lawyer who is 100% confident and absolutely guarantees you will be successful. You need an honest response after your lawyer has looked at your case and objectives, checked out all your options and then given you their considered opinion. Then you know you have found someone you can trust to help you achieve your dream of starting afresh in a new country.
We hope you remember to ask these questions when you are looking for an immigration lawyer. Finding a lawyer that’s reliable and experienced can make a huge difference in ensuring your visa application is a successful one!