Help is at hand for vulnerable migrants and refugees who wish to remain in Australia legally, thanks to a new initiative at Bond University.
Free immigration law advice is now available at Bond University. The law faculty of the Queensland institution has launched the clinic with the assistance of registered migration agents, legal practitioners, university academics and students.
Starting from 14 November, and for two hours from 5.30 to 7.30pm on specific Thursdays, the legal clinic will offer basic advice on a number of different visa schemes, including student visas, graduate visas, skilled independent visas and skilled sponsor visas.
Bond University’s Lindsey Stevenson-Graf, who is the academic co-ordinator of the free clinic, said that volunteer law students would have the opportunity to develop practical lawyering skills through the program.
“The clinic experience will give our students vital insights into the legal challenges faced by some of our most vulnerable new Australians, as well as allowing them to practice and improve their ‘people skills’ by dealing with real-life clients.”
“There is also an opportunity for our students to take on specific cases, working on legal strategies and finding solutions, under the guidance of the supervising migration agents and qualified lawyers,” Ms Stevenson-Graf said.
The clinic will offer additional assistance for asylum seekers, refugees seeking to sponsor family members to Australia and those who are victims of domestic violence and hold a temporary partner visa.
Solicitor Iracema Brunton helped to set up the clinic with fellow migration agent Rochelle James. She said that immigration law was a complicated system that was difficult to navigate.
It can be particularly complex for those with limited English, lack of finances or other vulnerabilities Ms Brunton added.
“Our team of specialist immigration agents and legal representatives, working in partnership with Bond University’s academics and law students, will be able to provide the most up-to-date advice on a range of visas issues and other referrals to relevant community organisations,” she said.