Proud to offer legal advice and assistance to all
"Check my form!" is a new service offered by Stewart Administrative & Migration Lawyers for
people who don't really need an immigration lawyer to walk through the whole process with them,
but want to make sure they have filled out the forms correctly and know what sort of evidence
to provide in support of their application.
These are extraordinary times in which we are living, thanks to COVID-19 and the necessary shut-downs, restrictions and quarantines. Understandably, everyone is concerned about financial security at the moment, and nobody wants to be spending more money than they need to. But the ramifications of having a visa refused by the Department of Home Affairs could be financially and practically devastating: including the inability to lodge another visa application in Australia.
"Check my Form!" is the perfect balance between going it alone and having an immigration lawyer take care of your entire application for you.
How does it work?
It's pretty simple: you fill out your application form/s and send them to us. We check them and give you advice about any potential concerns in your form/s as well as advising you of any specific types of evidence you should include in support of your application.
Why would this be necessary?
Some errors in application forms and evidence can be rectified at the appeal stage. The fee to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal costs just under $1,800.00, and that doesn't include lawyer fees or disbursements (like translations). Not every person who is refused a visa has a right to appeal to the Tribunal, and current waiting times for a decision from the AAT are around 2 years. That's time and money you don't necessarily have to spend.
Not every error made at the application stage can be fixed on appeal. Sometimes it is a requirement that you have certain documents or have achieved certain test scores before you lodge your application with the Department. Sometimes, a simple mistake in filling out the application form can haunt you all the way through your immigration matters. A mistake in filling out forms shouldn't cost you your visa or your future, but unfortunately we have seen it happen many times.
So what are your fees?
We have calculated our fees by the number of forms you want us to check. Every Check my Form! response includes a written advice and there may also be telephone calls or e-mails in order to make sure that we have the full picture about your case. Our fee structure is:
1 Form and Advice: AUD350.00
2 Forms and Advice: AUD450.00
3 Forms and Advice: AUD520.00
4+ Forms and Advice: confirmed on a case by case basis
But the application is supposed to be lodged online. How can I fill out the form and send it to you?
When you contact us to say you want us to check your forms, we can e-mail you a paper-based copy of the online application (some questions are a bit different, but they are mostly the same). Alternatively, you can save your online application form as a PDF before you submit it, and send it to us that way.
Do you guarantee success?
No. We can never guarantee success - we would be lying if we did. All we can guarantee is that we will do our best to give you honest, professional and timely advice of an intellectually high standard.
You won't be treated any differently to any of our "full time" clients, and we will do everything we can to make sure your application forms give you the best chances of success.
How do I start?
E-mail email@example.com and tell us you want your forms checked. It's that simple.
We will e-mail you back as soon as we can, and then we will check your forms!
Application forms can be long and tedious. We can help give you the best prospects of success.
There are many different types of visas to come to or remain in Australia, and we can help you with almost all of them. Lauri has more than ten years' experience in helping clients navigate Immigration's requirements and conditions, for visas including (but not limited to):
* partner / marriage visas;
* visitor / tourist visas;
* student visas;
* working visas;
* refugee / protection visas;
* visas for parents, children and siblings from whom you have been separated;
* visas for people who need to come to Australia to care for an ill family member;
* visas for people with exceptional talent;
* bridging visas and seeking changes to conditions (such as permission to work); and
* visa cancellations (both character and other grounds)
Lauri also has extensive experience attending identity-verification and other interviews at Immigration, as well as appearing before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, and preparing documents for applications to the Federal Circuit Court, the Federal Court and the High Court.
Will You Come To My Interview or Hearing?
Absolutely. If you wish us to represent you at your Immigration interview or AAT hearing, we will do our best to be able to do so.
Will You Do Everything For My Application?
We will assist you in whatever way you need, as far as is appropriate. Obviously there will always be something that you need to bring to the table - usually giving us a copy of your passport or filling out part of the application form (we're good, but we don't necessarily know where you went to school. We're not psychic!). But we can help you with all aspects of your case, as much as possible.
It isn't always necessary to engage a lawyer to help you through the entire process. If you don't need our ongoing assistance, we won't force it on you. Sometimes an initial consultation is all you need, or a couple of appointments to look over forms or draft a statutory declaration. We're here to help you, not dictate what you should do.
Will the Paperwork Ever End?
Yes! We know it seems daunting, and sometimes the immigration process can resemble a never-ending maze of application forms, questions and requests for further information; however, we promise that there is always an end to the paperwork. It can sometimes help to have as much of your application as completed as possible before it is lodged, and this is where we can help you with advice or ongoing assistance.
Lauri has been an immigration lawyer and registered migration agent for more than ten years, working in both a boutique private firm and one of Australia's leading refugee and immigration non-for-profit legal centres. Having learnt from the best of the best, she is able to help you, whatever your situation may be.
We recognise that we shouldn't really have favourites, but we do. Citizenship law is one of ours. It all started when Lauri was the instructing solicitor in the matter SNMX v Minister for Immigration and Citizenship  AATA 539, and it blossomed from there. Since then, Lauri has represented many clients seeking Australian Citizenship, all with their own unique histories and circumstances. So passionate is she about Citizenship law, Lauri has also appeared before the Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs with respect to proposed amendments to the Australian Citizenship Act 2007.
This is some of the crazy stuff we know because we are Citizenship law nerds, and proud of it:
* There are more than eight ways in which you may be eligible to become an Australian Citizen
* Some people inadvertently lost their Australian Citizenship by obtaining the Citizenship of another nation (don't worry - you can get it back)
* You don't always have to sit the Australian Citizenship Test before you can be conferred Citizenship (agh - did you know there's a test?!?)
* Some people's applications are approved quickly and some seem to take forever
* When to write 'Citizenship' with a capital 'C' and when to write it with a lower-case 'c' (okay, so this last one is a bit pedantic, but it's interesting!)
Are you thinking about becoming an Australian Citizen? Sometimes it's a really easy process and sometimes it's more complicated. If you have any concerns it doesn't hurt to talk to us - you won't be disappointed and we will do our best to help you.
Professor Kim Rubenstein once told me that residency means you have the right to remain in a country. Citizenship means you have the right to belong.
We believe that our nation is made great by the people who have worked hard to build it, to help it grow and to steer it in a positive direction going forward. Those people "belong" in Australia and we are proud to play an active role in ensuring that their contribution to, and their place in, our nation is formally recognised.
There are times when non-profit organisations and groups get so bogged down in the intricacies of the law that they lose sight of their direction, goals and purpose. In these instances the law can, to quote Charles Dickens, be an "ass".
Not-for-profit groups, Church groups and non-profit sporting organisations face so many administrative and legal requirements that they have to be run as businesses. But these organisations shouldn't be in the business of being a business: their direction, goals and purpose are of a completely different nature. Non-profit organisations are also, by definition, not out to make money. There isn't usually a whole lot of cash able to be spent on legal advice, as any extra funds are funnelled towards new equipment, covering the costs of existing programs, or paying off loans and mortgages sooner. We get this, and we want to help. This is why we have different financial arrangements for non-profit organisations and groups. You're playing a really important part in our community, and we want to be able to encourage that to grow in whatever way we can.
Non-profit organisations have unique legal needs and challenges. Let me help you meet them, so that you can focus on what really matters most to you and your members.
Not-for-profit law includes aspects of Constitutional law, administrative law, criminal law, contract law, property law, tax law, company / corporations law ... the list goes on and on!
Administrative law deals with decisions made by the administrative units of governments (think tribunals, boards or commissions) as well as semi-public bodies such as disciplinary boards and other decision-making bodies which affect the legal rights of members of a particular group. In Australia, administrative law developed as a response to concerns about bureaucratic decisions - too few people had too much power, and nobody was able to reign it in.
Administrative law is largely concerned with whether the proper process was followed, and whether that process was "fair".
Administrative law includes things such as disciplinary hearings held by professional bodies, sporting tribunals, VCAT matters, Citizenship applications and Freedom of Information requests.
The reality of working in a profession is that people will make complaints against you. Sometimes those complaints are completely unfounded and sometimes they are not. Nevertheless, professional bodies are almost always bound to investigate, and that means you become the unwilling recipient of a "please explain" letter.
Often, the first step in being advised of a complaint made against you is that you are given an opportunity to respond in writing. At this stage, you are entitled to seek the opinion of a legal representative. That's where we come in. We can help you formulate your response and, hopefully, end the matter there and then. Should your matter escalate to a hearing, you may not be permitted to have a lawyer represent you. But that doesn't mean you can't seek legal advice beforehand or that you should go in unprepared. We can assist you to prepare for your hearing, within the limitations of your professional body and in accordance with the law, and should the decision go against you we can help you with your written appeal.
Not every disciplinary body allows lawyers or representatives to be present at hearings, but that doesn't mean you should go in unprepared.
Have you been asked to obtain a Working with Children Check (WWC) or Police Clearance, but are a little afraid of what it may unearth? Have you been sent a "please explain" letter as a result of your WWC or police check?
Are you unsure what you are supposed to say or do next? Don't worry. We can help you go through this process as painlessly as possible.
Are you using your Working with Children Check for a non-profit organisation? Talk to us about our special rates for Churches and non-profit organisations.
There are some documents that every person is entitled to see, as it is deemed to be in the public interest that they be made available. You may be entitled to access other documents if they are about you. Sometimes, access to documents is unlawfully denied and if this is the case you will usually have a right of review to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
We can help you make your initial request for access to your documents, assisting you to understand what has been released to you and what has been withheld, and advising you on any appeal rights you may have.
If a Government body has incorrectly recorded your name or date of birth, for whatever reason, you can request that it be amended.
Sometimes it's advantageous to have a third party help you arrive at an amicable solution. Other times, it's having someone in your corner to keep you focused on what's really important. We can help you prepare for your upcoming negotiation or mediation so that you walk out with the outcome you want.
Whether you're attending a mandatory mediation session or preparing for an upcoming negotiation, we'll be in your corner.
This website is for informational purposes only. Using this site or communicating with Stewart Administrative & Migration Lawyers through this site does not form an attorney/client relationship. This site is legal advertising.
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