Not the Minister; no bad faith; not criminal

Federal Court (Full Court). AAT granted visa on 11 Mar 2020 to Respondent, who was kept in detention till 17 Mar 2020. Minister applied for JR to FCA, which dismissed application and held, among other things: Respondent was not released earlier because of the Minister's "personal dislike of the Tribunal decision"; “In the absence of explanation, the Minister [had] engaged in conduct which [could] only be described as criminal”. FCAFC unanimously allowed Minister's appeal, holding that conduct in question did not amount to bad faith (and implicitly was not criminal) and was not engaged in by Minister personally. If AAT makes a decision based on the law as then understood and that understanding is later on overturned by a court, is the AAT's decision affected with jurisdictional error ab initio? Did AAT have power to grant visa which had been refused under s 501?

AAT on deregulation: action required

The Tribunal is requiring Australian legal practitioners with pending migration matters to take the steps described in this article, due to the commencement of deregulation

Hidden & potentially significant consequences of deregulation to lawyers

With respect, it appears that Parliament did not consider some unintended, but potentially significant, consequences of the "deregulation legislation". For instance, the Department will no longer be required, in some circumstances, to communicate with non-RMA lawyers, even if informed that they are both the representative and authorised recipient, as we explain in this article. It is true that, although the Department will not be required to communicate with the non-RMA lawyer in those circumstances, it might be very likely to do so anyway. However, who would like to take the risk, even if very low?

Not “too late” for RLPC holders to apply to MARA

2 industry associations communicated to their members on 13 Feb 2021 that MARA announced that an initial application to become an RMA by a Restricted Legal Practising Certificate holder made before the commencement of the deregulation legislation "must be treated as if it were lodged after the new legislation commenced", if it is decided after commencement. Given the 30-day notice requirement and processing time, MARA therefore indicated that applications made after 14 Feb would likely require completion of the Grad Dip and passing of the Capstone. Later on 13 Feb, we respectfully raised it with MARA that the passage quoted above appeared incorrect. Accordingly, MARA has told Migration Law Updates today that they will be amending their announcement.

RMAs on ATO’s radar

The ATO will acquire visa data from the Department of Home Affairs for 2020-21 through to 2022-23.  The data items include...

“Minister has acted unlawfully”

Federal Court: "The Minister has acted unlawfully. His actions have unlawfully deprived a person of his liberty. His conduct exposes him to both civil and potentially criminal sanctions, not limited to a proceeding for contempt. In the absence of explanation, the Minister has engaged in conduct which can only be described as criminal".

Deregulation: OMARA fee “refund” is possible

The OMARA has recently informed practitioners that it will not be able to refund registration (or repeat registration) application charges for legal practitioners who will no longer be regulated by the OMARA. Although the OMARA is not itself able to offer refunds, we carried out research for our readers and found a piece of legislation which gives the Commonwealth government the discretion to make payments to individuals in certain circumstances, which in the case of OMARA fees could effectively work as a refund. We also discuss the government's policies on such circumstances and how to make a "refund" request.

28-day “grace period” for student visa applicants?

It is sometimes said by applicants that a person who remains in Australia after their student visa expires has a 28-day "grace period" during which they remain lawful non-citizens. We explain why that is not the case.

Mental health & wellbeing

We have compiled a short list of some of the many entities & professionals that can help RMAs (and future RMAs) in the area of mental health, ranging from fee to paid services. Any RMAs who find themselves in a difficult period of their lives are welcome to contact any of those entities and also to seek alternative options not listed here. What really matters is that help is sought whenever needed.

COVID-19: travel ban extended yet again

"On 27 February 2020, the Australian Government supported recommendations from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) to maintain current travel restrictions. These will be reviewed again before 6 March 2020. Read the statement from the AHPPC". Further, the federal government had announced on 22 Feb 2020 that "[s]enior high school students who remain in China due to Australian travel restrictions have been offered a strict pathway to resume their studies in recognition of the importance of the final 2 years of school". However, on 27 Feb, the Prime Minister told reporters there were "no carve-outs" as part of the extended travel ban, which seems to contradict the government's own assurances relating to students made only 5 days earlier.

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