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    Sydney Most Awarded Immigration Lawyers

    Immigration Lawyers Sydney | Immigration Solutions

    Immigration Solutions Lawyers™, formerly known as Anne O’Donoghue & Associates, has been a leading Immigration Law Firm in Sydney for over 31 years. Immigration Solutions Lawyers has been assisting clients in navigating the different avenues of migration to Australia since 1993 and has formulated success for Applicants and Businesses alike by taking an expert and collaborative approach.

    Our expertise extends through to all Visa Subclasses, from Preparation, Lodgement and Appeal, if required. The complexity of Visa Applications is what Immigration Solutions Lawyers is renowned for, as Character Concerns, Non-Disclosure Issues and Refusals are intricate legal processes which require a team of expert solicitors.

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    Real Reviews - Real Outcomes


    Brian Gunsett

    October 17, 2023

    Australia Immigration

    I had an amazing experience working with Anne, Heshna and the entire Team at Immigration Solutions. The knowledge, open line of communication and sense of urgency was top notch.



    JUNE 30, 2023

    Canada Immigration

    Excellent experience with my citizenship application process. The team took me through the process step by step and answered all questions (and I had many). They were also extremely patient with me.



    AUGUST 30, 2023

    Canada Immigration

    I can’t express my gratitude enough to ISL. In the midst of countless uncertainties and difficulties, they came through for my family in record time and resolved our problem.

    • I had an amazing experience working with Anne, Heshna and the entire Team at Immigration Solutions. The knowledge, open line of communication and sense of urgency was top notch. I needed a quick turn around on an issue I was having so I could come to Sydney on a business trip. Anne and her team took on the challenge and delivered exceptional results. They were empathetic to my situation and were extremely supportive through the entire process. I was getting advice and support even while I travelled on the weekend. I would go nowhere else for any of my future needs or assistance in traveling to Australia. Thanks again to the Team at Immigration Solutions Lawyers for the amazing help and support you provided me through this process.

      Brian Gunsett Avatar Brian Gunsett
      October 17, 2023

      ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ I can't express my gratitude enough to ISL. In the midst of countless uncertainties and difficulties, they came through for my family in record time and resolved our problem. Their dedication and expertise are unparalleled. From the very beginning, they instilled confidence with their clear communication and step-by-step guidance. It's rare to find a law firm that genuinely cares about their clients and delivers results so efficiently. Thank you for turning things around!

      Edmund Wong Avatar Edmund Wong
      August 30, 2023

      Thank you to the team at ISL working within my budget to get a much better outcome for my case than I was expecting. I appreciate the professionalism and attention to detail that made a wonderfully positive impact on the Administrative Appeals Tribunal's decision. There's simply no better firm for domestic violence matters and I'm very grateful I made the right choice.

      Tight 5 Comedy AU (tight5comedyshow) Avatar Tight 5 Comedy AU (tight5comedyshow)
      August 30, 2023
    • After years of bridging visas and visa refusals, I came to immigration soultions lawyers with my hopeless situation. My case was very complex with many legal issues. I had recieved so much conflicting advice from other firms with no firm solutions. Anne, Diane and her team worked far and beyond to get me my visa with their extensive legal knowledge, and made the impossible possible! I can't thank immigration solutions enough for the work they did on my visa application and the excellent result I received in such a short time. Immigration solutions are not just a law firm, they are a team of miracle workers. I can't recommend enough! Thank you.

      Rabah Al Hazoury Avatar Rabah Al Hazoury
      August 5, 2023

      Excellent experience with my citizenship application process. The team took me through the process step by step and answered all questions (and I had many). They were also extremely patient with me, when due to personal circumstances, things took a little longer. Can highly recommend the team, and would love to personally thank Heshna who looked after me on a day to day basis.

      Anke Vuletic Avatar Anke Vuletic
      June 30, 2023

      Dear Palwasha, It is such an amazing news on a Friday afternoon. Thank you for all your efforts and support in getting the application submitted in time. I think you are a great value to ISL with the work ethics you have in helping your clients is commendable. A Big Thank you to Anne and the entire ISL team for the help with mums application 🙂

      Rehana Sahib Avatar Rehana Sahib
      June 26, 2023
    • Many years ago I found myself in a awful visa situation. I walked into their office desperate and I left crying and even more desperate as their “solution” was not what I was hoping for. I had to scrape the barrel to pay their fee, to hear I had to take the hardest route. Today, I look back at that moment and I feel lucky to have found them, if wasn’t for their harsh advise I wouldn’t be here today, an Australian citizen with and all visa problems in my past. I never thought to write a review until now (6 years later) when someone asked me if I know a good immigration lawyer. This is how I found them, in hurry looking for the best review led lawyer near me. Luckiest search of my life!

      Nica Avatar Nica
      June 19, 2023

      This is not just a review, it is about a law firm called Immigration Solutions lawyers who engaged themselves professionally , and emotionally with my complex situation and offered full commitment till end . I was away from my family due to Covid and my application kept being refused , and i was going through emotional turbulences with my family till I read about Anne on LinkedIn and her outstanding achievements and decided to contact them and the first consultation with Reema was a game changer for me and my family. All the team Heshna, Sophie, Vicky contributed more than they should to get my application through and finally I got my visa . I have dealt with many firms discussing my complex situation, but Immigration Solutions Lawyers have much more to say and to do for you and your family more than you can imagine.

      Mack Meshkati Avatar Mack Meshkati
      May 22, 2023

      We are soo grateful with Immigration Solutions, my partner finally has his Partner Visa approved!! He was in a very sensitive visa situation and the team able to provide him with a solution and help his visa journey. Special thank you to Jane Liu and Vicky Chen for looking after our case and provide us with amazing service. Our family thanked you for your service. I would highly recommend the team for your visa journey!

      Stephanie Oktavia Avatar Stephanie Oktavia
      May 16, 2023


    Our Trusted Immigration Support Team

    Immigration Solutions Lawyers employs a wide range of dedicated and driven lawyers and support staff. Each have proven and extensive experience in their fields of expertise and are committed to providing excellent service. The team has been handpicked by Mrs O’Donoghue herself with the aim of providing only the best customer service and legal advice available.

    The office is contactable in person in Sydney CBD, and also offers consultations by telephone and Skype. For more information regarding our staff or for any questions please contact the office.

    Anne O' Donoghue

    Director & Principal Lawyer, Special Counsel Modern Slavery and Human Rights

    Diane Markantonakis


    Jane Liu


    Reema Taouk

    Senior Associate Lawyer - Specialist Counsel on Character Issues

    Palwasha Nawabi


    Michael O'Donoghue

    Client Service Manager

    Noel Shea


    Partner Visa

    Immigration Solutions Lawyers are Australia’s leading Partner Visa specialists, with both Onshore Partner Visas and Offshore Partner Visa applications expertly processed. The most common Partner Visa is the onshore partner visa where the immigration applicant can be onshore throughout the entirety of the visa application. The process begins with the temporary Partner visa (Subclass 820) and is the first stage towards a permanent Partner Visa (Subclass 801). The offshore partner visa application acts as a transitional visa from the provisional Partner Visa (Subclass 309) to the permanent Partner Visa (subclass 100).

    The Australian Government Department of Home Affairs states that to be eligible for a temporary Subclass 820 and Permanent Subclass 801 visa the Applicant and Sponsor must be able to show the Department of Immigration and Border Protection that they are in a genuine and ongoing relationship, consenting freely to the relationship and to the exclusion of all others.  The Subclass 820 and Subclass 801 visa application process requires that the Applicant is the spouse or de facto partner of an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand Citizen. The Applicant and Sponsor must be in Australia when they apply and when the visa is decided.

    For married applicants, the marriage must be valid under Australian Law. Underage and polygamous marriages are not legal or valid in Australia. Same sex couples can apply for this partner visa as a de facto Applicant. For de facto Applicants, the Department generally requires the de facto relationship to have existed for 12 months prior to lodging the application. There are however some circumstances where the visa may be lodged prior to the 12-month criteria including if there are compelling and compassionate circumstances that warrant the visa being granted or the de facto relationship has been registered.

    The provisional partner Subclass 309 and migrant partner Subclass 100, is the same as the Subclass 820/801 Visa application process except the applicant is required to be outside Australia at the time of application and until the Subclass 309 is granted. The applicant can be onshore or offshore when the Subclass 100 visa is granted.

    Family Violence

    The Department may allow you to be granted permanent residency, if you relationship has broken down due to family violence, including but not limited to physical, emotional, psychological, financial, social and sexual abuse.

    From 31 March 2023 a new instrument under the Migration Regulations 1994—Specification of evidentiary requirements—family violence is in place that reduces the burden placed on victims of family and domestic violence seeking a visa.

    The new measures include adding midwives to the list of medical professions who can provide evidence; adding risk assessments and reports as types of evidence in lieu of statutory declarations; adding additional advocacy and crisis service providers who can provide evidence and removing the statutory declaration requirement for some healthcare professionals.

    Resident Return Visa

    A successful Resident Return Visa Application allows you to travel abroad and maintain your permanent residence status on your return to Australia. Similarly, if you are a former Australian Citizen, the Resident Return Visa allows you to return to Australia as a Permanent Resident.  Australian Citizens are the only people who have automatic right of entry to Australia. All other persons are required to hold a visa, including Australian Permanent Residents. Permanent Residents can remain in Australia indefinitely, however if they wish to travel, they must ensure that they have a valid travel facility attached to their visa. If a Permanent Resident chooses to travel without a valid travel facility, they run the risk of losing their Permanent Residency status.

    Resident Return Visas (RRV) are designed for current Australian Permanent Residents who wish to travel overseas whilst maintaining their Australian Permanent Resident status. The RRV’s also allow former Australian Permanent Residents and former Australian citizens (who have lost or renounced their Australian citizenship) an opportunity to return to Australia and regain permanent resident status.

    Applications can be submitted onshore or offshore, however if an Applicant applies offshore, they must be offshore when a decision is made. There are two main subclasses of Resident Return Visas being the subclass 155 and the subclass 157. Each visa subclass is distinguished by relevant criteria, and in turn determines the length of the travel facility granted. A Resident Return Visa can provide a 5-year, 1-year or 3-month travel facility from the date of grant, allowing travel within that period only. Once the visa expires, a new Resident Return Visa application will need to be granted prior to travelling.

    Visitor Visa (Subclass 600)

    Visitor Visas are for applicants who are tourists, business visitors or looking to visit their family.

    There are 6 different streams of Visitor Visas:

    Tourist Stream- Apply Outside Australia

    This stream allows visa holders to visit Australia as a tourist, to go on a cruise, or to visit family and friends. The visa could be granted for 3, 6 or 12 months. For this stream, Applicants must be outside Australia when they apply for the visa, and when the Department of Home Affairs decides the visa.

    Tourist Stream- Apply In Australia

    This stream allows visa holders to visit Australia as a tourist, to visit family and friends, or for purposes outside of business or medical treatment. The Department could grant the visa for up to 12 months. For this stream, Applicants must be in Australia when they apply for the visa, and when the Department of Home Affairs decides the visa. This stream may be suitable for Applicants that hold another visa that is expiring and would like to stay in Australia for longer.

    Business Visitor Stream

    This stream allows visa holders to visit Australia for business reasons. The Department could grant the visa for up to 3 months, and may let visa holders enter Australia once or many times while the visa is valid. Visa holders cannot work or sell goods or services while on this visa. For this stream, Applicants must be outside Australia when they apply for the visa, and when the Department of Home Affairs decides the visa.

    Approved Destination Status Stream

    This stream allows citizens from certain areas of China (excluding SARs) to visit Australia on a tour that has been organised by an approved travel agent. The Department will specify how long the visa holder’s stay is granted for in the grant letter. Visa holders must remain with the organised tour group during their time in Australia.

    Frequent Traveler Stream

    This stream allows citizens of the People’s Republic of China who travel often to Australia for business or personal reasons to continue doing so. The Department may grant the visa for up to 10 years, and the visa holder can stay up to 3 months every time they enter. Applicants must hold a passport from the People’s Republic of China (excluding SARs). Applicants must provide biometrics within the People’s Republic of China before applying.

    Sponsored Family Stream

    This stream allows people who are sponsored, usually by a family member, to visit Australia to see their family. The Sponsor must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident. The Department may ask the Sponsor for a security bond. For this stream, Applicants must be outside Australia when they apply for the visa, and when the Department of Home Affairs decides the visa.

    Student Visa (Subclass 500)

    The Student Visa allows visa holders to study an eligible course in Australia, travel in an out of Australia, and work up to 48 hours a fortnight during the study period.

    Applicants must meet the following requirements:

    • Apply online in or outside Australia
    • Be enrolled in a course of study in Australia
      Hold Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC), or fall in an exemption category
    • Be 6 years or older
    • For under 18s- prove there is a welfare arrangement in place
    • If in Australia, hold an eligible substantive visa
    • Have enough money for their stay
    • Be a Genuine Student


    With new Genuine Student Requirements introduced in March 2024, an Applicant must demonstrate that they are a genuine student. The Department of Home Affairs defines this, stating an Applicant/Student Visa Holder must must stay as a student and be able to show an understanding that studying in Australia is the primary reason of their student visa. The Genuine Student requirement is intended to include students who, after studying in Australia, develop skills Australia needs and who then go on to apply for permanent residence.

    Australian Citizenship

    There are multiple ways to become an Australian citizen, these include:

    By conferral

    By conferral

    By adoption

    Become an Australian again

    Generally, Applicants for Australian citizenship must meet the residence requirements. The Applicant must have lived in Australia for at least 4 years before applying, with no more than 12 months of absence. The Applicant must also have lived in Australia for at least 9 months out of the last 12 months before applying.

    Applicants must also show a close and continuing link to Australia. The Department must be satisfied that the Applicant is likely to live or continue to live in Australia,  or maintain a close and continuing link with Australia while overseas. During the assessment of the Applicant’s close and continuing link with Australia, the Department will consider their living arrangements and migration status.

    Examples of evidence of a close and continuing link with Australia include:

    Skilled Visas

    Skilled visas allow visa holders to live and work in Australia. The skilled visa category includes the following main visa subclasses:

    Generally, Applicants would submit an expression of interest and wait to be invited to apply.

    Applicants would need to satisfy the following:

    When submitting the expression of interest in SkillSelect, the Applicant will be given an indicative points score based on the claims that were made. 65 points need to be obtained to be invited to apply for the visa.

    Employer Sponsored Visas

    Employer sponsored visas allow skilled workers to live and work in Australia. The employer sponsored visa category includes the following main visa subclasses:

    Generally, Applicants must satisfy the following basic eligibility for employer sponsored visas:

    Employer Sponsored Visa’s assist Australian Businesses who are facing a shortage of skilled workers, to fill the gap and sponsor foreign talent. Eligibility ranges on a number of factor including, your occupation, your qualification, whether you require a skills assessment, your English language score and your post qualification experience.

    Character Concerns for Visa and Citizenship Applications

    To be granted an Australian visa or Australian citizenship, Applicants must satisfy the character requirements, and visa holders must remain of good character. If an Applicant or visa holder does not pass the character test, the Department may refuse or cancel a visa.

    The most common reasons for failing the character test and having their visa or citizenship refused include the following:

    The full list is contained in Section 501 of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth).

    Although Applicants who fail the character test are more likely to experience a refusal, each application is decided on a case-by-case basis, so failing the character test does not necessarily mean an automatic refusal.

    An Applicant is required to provide extensive submissions to mitigate the circumstances surrounding their criminal record and it is crucial to overcome this, to be granted any visa type in Australia.

    Unlawful Spouses

    The Migration Regulations 1994 sets out the ways in which a non-citizen may apply for particular visas. If you are unlawful currently in Australia, this limits the visa’s you can apply for. If you are unlawful, you may only apply for a Medical Treatment Visa, a Protection Visa and a Partner Visa.

    If you or your partner is unlawful and you have an Australian Citizen or Permanent Resident Spouse, you may be eligible for a Partner Visa, regardless of your unlawfulness.

    Second Time Partner Visa – Rule 1.20J:

    Regulation 1.20J of the Migration Regulations is one of the most crucial regulations, particularly for those who are considering applying for one of the following visas:

    Regulation 1.20J places limitations on multiple sponsorships, namely:

    The main concern applicants often encounter is the limitation of sponsoring a maximum of 2 people in their lifetime.

    The sponsorship limitations can be waived by the Minister if they are ‘satisfied that there are compelling circumstances affecting the sponsor’.

    Examples of these ‘compelling circumstances’ include:

    These examples are not exhaustive, and the unique circumstances of each situation will be taken into account.

    General considerations for potentially waiving the bar on repeat sponsorship include:

    Administrative Appeals Tribunal

    Most people think that the only option after a visa refusal is to depart Australia. However, what most people don’t know or realise are their rights and available options for them to rectify the situation including AAT Appeal and Ministerial intervention requests.

    In reviewing the visa refusal decision, the case will be considered afresh, and the AAT has the power to change the decision under review.

    In some cases, only the visa Applicant or former visa holder can apply for review, while in other cases, the Sponsor or a close relative of the Applicant may apply for review.

    There are time limits for making the application for review- this will be in the decision letter sent by the Department of Home Affairs. The ‘Application for Review’ form can be lodged online or by email, post, fax or in person.

    The review process varies on a case-by-case basis, but the general steps include the following:

    Ministerial Intervention Request

    If an Applicant receives an unfavorable decision from the AAT, they may be eligible to submit a request for ministerial intervention.

    The Minister has powers under the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) to replace a decision by the AAT if they believe it is in the public interest to do so.

    Individuals may write to the Minister to submit the ministerial intervention request. The request must include the following information:

    Unique or exceptional circumstances include the following:

    These types of unique or exceptional circumstances are not exhaustive.

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