Anne O’Donoghue is an accredited immigration law specialist and registered migration agent, with over 25 years of experience. She is the director and principal lawyer of Immigration Solutions Lawyers (ISL). Anne is acknowledged as one of Australia’s leading immigration law specialists and was one of the top three most highly regarded practitioners for WWL 2017.
Anne has been listed in WWL: Corporate Immigration for eight consecutive years (2011–2018).
What motivated you to pursue a career in corporate immigration law?
My interest in immigration law stemmed from helping a young Irish man with major problems in trying to obtain permanent residence. At that stage, I was about to set up my practice, and was horrified at what I perceived to be an unfair application of the law to the client’s circumstances. This was my catalyst to pursue a career in corporate immigration law and inspired me to fight to achieve the best possible outcomes.
As director and principal lawyer, how do you ensure Immigration Solutions Lawyers stands out among competitors?
I believe that without knowledge and continued development, it is virtually impossible to keep abreast of ever-changing immigration law. Effective knowledge management and encouraging innovation not only promotes staff development, but also promotes the firm’s wealth of knowledge and capacity. Immigration Solutions Lawyers always ensures we are at the forefront of immigration policy changes to guarantee that clients are obtaining the most up-to-date and highest professional advice.
I maintain the firm’s international presence by regularly participating and speaking on immigration matters at international conferences.
What are the main challenges currently facing immigration lawyers in the Australian market?
Part of the difficulty in dealing with immigration matters is that legislation
of the Department of Home Affairs changes regularly, being a highly politicised area
Australia has experienced significant reforms which have taken effect from April 2017 to date. This has been particularly in the area of corporate and skilled immigration which has created a very challenging environment. The shift towards stronger immigration filters can also be seen in Australia’s citizenship conferrals, which have fallen to a record 15-year low that the Department has attributed to ‘greater national security checks’. The Bill introduced to the Lower House that aims to add ‘designated offences’ to s501 also demonstrates the Department’s tightening measures surrounding character requirements.
How have recent changes in Australia’s Corporate Migration Programme impacted the type of work you have been receiving over the past year?
There has been an important shift in the Australian Migration Programme in recent years towards a policy that places greater focus on skilled and business migrants.
Our corporate stream has seen a rising proportion of skilled and business visa categories compared with other visa categories. In particular, we have experienced an increased number of temporary migrant applicants as a result of the introduction of new temporary work categories and expansion of other temporary migration classes. We have assisted businesses in the fields of construction, mining, health, media and technical services.
Have there been any particularly active industries for migration work in Australia over the past couple of years?
There has been significant growth in the regional skilled industry. Immigration Solutions Lawyers has worked with various corporate clients and employers from low population areas in Australia assisting them to obtain working visas with their chosen workers, while stimulating the regional economy. Recently, we have been closely involved in helping clients partner with the Migrant Innovation Northern Territory Program (MINT) programme which assists overseas nationals with obtaining Australian permanency residency, if they have demonstrated a commitment to being involved in the Darwin Innovation Hub.
How have client demands developed since you first began practising in the space?
I have definitely witnessed the strong movement of globalisation. I have seen corporate immigration law gradually continue to transform as it now plays an important role in the globalisation of the country. The demand for temporary and permanent entry into Australia has been evidenced by the constantly growing amount of visa applications in which we have managed over the years.
What advice would you give to younger lawyers looking to pursue a career in immigration law?
They must prepare to be dedicated and passionate. They must truly give all their efforts in immigration law by staying up to date with all of the complex policy reforms. Young lawyers in immigration law must possess high emotional intelligence to be able to effectively recognise the needs of each individual client.
What has been the most memorable case you have worked on?
I acted on a pro bono case of a young girl from Bangladesh who fought a rare and life-threatening disease at birth. She had to face the fear of being sent back to Bangladesh, where a lack of specialist medical help could be a death sentence. I argued that sending the family back with this young child would be the same as issuing a death sentence as it was clear only Australian medical professionals could provide the proper medical attention she required.
I was able to successfully guarantee the intervention of the Minister of Home Affairs at the time, and achieved a very positive outcome for the family who were subsequently granted permanent residency. This was a high-profile case and received a great deal of media attention. This was a memorable case for me as it was a great example of how immigration law and human rights law can intersect.
Anne O’Donoghue stands out among peers who commend her expert handling of complex immigration matters for clients across a range of sectors, from construction to media.
Anne O’Donoghue is an accredited immigration law specialist and registered migration agent, with over 25 years of experience in private legal practice. She is the director and principal lawyer of Immigration Solutions Lawyers (ISL). In 2018 Anne celebrated 20 years as an accredited specialist.
Anne was admitted to practise in the Supreme Court of Victoria in 1981, the Supreme Court of New South Wales in 1987 and the High Court of New South Wales in 1982. Anne has been instrumental in developing the field of immigration law in New South Wales. Anne was the founding vice president of the migration law committee of the Law Council of Australia (LCA). Anne has been a member of the LCA’s international law section (ILS) executive since December 2012, and was recently reappointed for a further two-year period ending December 2020. Anne is a member of the Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration (AIJA) and the Australian Institute of Company Directors and has also served as treasurer of the ILS (2012–2016).
Anne has been a member of the specialist accreditation advisory committee of the NSW Law Society since September 2015. She has been appointed co-chair of the immigration and nationality law committee (INLC) of the International Bar Association (IBA) effective 1 January 2019 to 1 January 2021. In 2019, Anne will be a member of the IBA’s presidential task force on the refugee crisis initiative showcase. Anne will also be a co-moderator of the IBA’s Seoul session on stateless children in collaboration with the family law committee.
Anne has developed her strong international affiliations through the IBA for 17 years. Anne has chaired a panel on The Hague Convention at the IBA Annual Conference in Tokyo (2014); delivered a presentation on the SIV in Beijing at the Australian China Trade and Investment Expo (2014); spoke at the UIA 58th Congress in Florence (2014); chaired a session at the CPD LCA Immigration Law Conference (2015); co-chaired a session at the IBA Annual Conference in Washington (2016); co-chaired a session of the IBA Conference in Sydney (2017); served panellist and speaker at the Global Immigration Conference in London (2017); contributed to the LegalWise migration law seminar on corporate responsibility and human rights (2018); co-chaired a session at the IBA Conference in Rome (2018); and presented at the UNSW Law programme on merits review applications and the migration and refugee division of the AAT (2019). Anne has been invited to chair a session at the Biennial Immigration Conference in London 2019.
Anne is also an experienced writer and co-authored the Australia chapter of The Corporate Immigration Review, now in its ninth edition. Anne also makes valuable contributions to the Global Business Immigration Handbook, as well as the IBA’s annual report for the Global Employment Institute.
Anne has been listed in WWL: Corporate Immigration for eight consecutive years (2011-2018). In 2016, Anne was recognised by The Lawyer’s “International Legal 100” list as the Corporate Immigration Lawyer of the Year and by Acquisition International as a “legal expert” at the Mobility in Business Awards. Anne was mentioned in WWL: Australia (2017 and 2018), and was recognised in the top four “Most Highly Regarded Lawyers” list for corporate migration in the 2018 edition. In 2019, Anne was invited to feature in WWL Thought Leaders: Corporate Immigration 2019. Anne has been a finalist in Lawyer Weekly’s Partner of the Year Awards in the migration category for two consecutive years (2017 and 2018).
Anne O’Donoghue is famous for her expertise handling all manner of immigration issues and is applauded by sources for leading "a very strong corporate immigration practice".
Anne O’Donoghue is an accredited immigration law specialist and registered migration agent, with over 24 years of experience. She is the director and principal lawyer of Immigration Solutions Lawyers (ISL).
Anne’s expertise lies in assisting high net worth individuals looking to invest in the Australian economy, and in assisting Australian and multinational companies in their employment of foreign workers. Her experience and professionalism are crucial to clients throughout the sponsorship application processes and in complying with sponsorship obligations. She has assisted various businesses in the field of construction, mining, health, hospitality, media and in technical services. With her international standing, Anne retains clients from small start-up businesses to the well-established industry leaders.
Anne was admitted to practise in the Supreme Court of Victoria in 1981, the Supreme Court of New South Wales in 1987 and the High Court of Australia in 1982. She is a member of the Law Society of New South Wales and has been instrumental in developing the field of immigration law in New South Wales. Anne was the founding vice president of the migration law committee of the Law Council of Australia (LCA). Anne served as Treasurer of the ILS from 2012–2016. She has been recently elected for a further two-year period to the executive of the international law section of the LCA. Anne is a member of the specialist accreditation advisory committee of the NSW Law Society, the Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration (AIJA) and the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
With her international standing, Anne has been involved in numerous conferences. In 2014 Anne chaired the Sydney organising committee for the Migration Law Conference hosted by the LCA; delivered a presentation on the SIV in Beijing at the Australia China Trade and Investment Expo; chaired a panel on The Hague Convention at the IBA Annual Conference in Tokyo; spoke at the UIA 58th Congress in Florence; and spoke at the Hong Kong Investment Immigration Summit. In 2015, Anne chaired a session at the CPD LCA Immigration Law Conference and attended the Department of Immigration and Border Protection Industry Summit in Melbourne. Anne co-chaired "A review of international immigration service providers" at the 2016 IBA Conference in Washington. Anne will continue her heavy involvement in 2017, partaking in the CPD LCA Immigration Law Conference in Sydney in February, the Legalwise Migration Law Seminar in Melbourne in June, the IBA Conference in Sydney in October, the UIA Toronto Conference in Canada in October, and the Global Immigration Conference in London in December.
Anne co-authored the Australia chapter of The Corporate Immigration Review, now in its seventh edition. She also makes valuable contributions to the Global Business Immigration Handbook as well as the IBA’s Annual Global Report for the Global Employment Institute and the Immigration Global Guide as the country representative for Australia in immigration.
Anne is very committed to championing the importance of Australian immigration lawyers gaining recognition in the global market and the internationalisation of their practices. She has developed her international affiliations through the IBA. Anne is senior vice chair of the IBA's immigration and nationality law committee; the secretary of the immigration commission of International Association of Lawyers (UIA); an associate of the American Bar Association – international section; and a non-resident member of the New York State Bar Association’s international section.
Anne has been recognised on multiple occasions as an advocate for women in business and for her work as an active leader in the field of immigration law. She was awarded the Corporate Immigration Lawyer of the Year Award at the Corporate International Global International Awards 2014 and the Women in Law Award 2014 from Lawyers Monthly, and was nominated for the Telstra Australian Business Women’s Awards 2014. Moreover, ISL won Immigration Law Firm of the Year Australia at the Finance Monthly Global Awards 2014, and Best in Immigration Law Australia 2014 from Acquisition International. ISL has been listed in WWL: Corporate Immigration for seven consecutive years (2011-2017). ISL was also named the immigration law firm of the year for 2015 and 2016 at the Corporate LiveWire Legal Awards. In 2016 Anne was also recognised by The Lawyer’s “International Legal 100” as the Corporate Immigration Lawyer of the Year and by Acquisition International as a Legal Expert at the Mobility in Business Awards. In 2017, Anne was recognised by Corporate LiveWire M&A Today Global magazine as the Corporate Immigration Lawyer of the Year, and ISL has been named by both Corporate International Global Magazine and ACQ5 Legal as the Corporate Immigration Law Firm of the Year.