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LawyerAbroad

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Everything posted by LawyerAbroad

  1. Hi guys, This is my first time posting on the site. I've lurked in the background taking all your helpful advice and now I see an opportunity to put something back in. I'm a barrister in the UK and today I had the great news that my 189 application (and my partner's) has been granted. It's been quite a long haul. In fact, if there is a slower or more expensive way of getting a 189 visa I'd love to hear that story. When I first considered applying for a 189 visa I really struggled to find anything other than generic information about the process of applying as a lawyer and no information at all about how much it might cost. So, if there is anyone who is a solicitor, a lawyer or barrister who is thinking about applying, I hope this (very) long list of hoops I've had to jump through leaves you more informed than I was going into the process. Yes, it does mean re-qualifying. I got off pretty lightly having to do only 4 academic subjects and 2 practical subjects. Prepare a very thorough application for exemptions (I sent photocopies of the index to university text books, lecture handouts, etc that I found in my parents' loft to demonstrate the equivalence of the subjects I studied). This involves going back to university (it can be done by remote learning). Yes, that means lectures, tutorials, homework, coursework and exams. Yes, it does mean you will need to travel to Australia for a holiday to get admitted before you can even submit your Expression of Interest. DON'T apply for conditional admission like I did. You won't get it and you'll have wasted your time and money. No, you don't need a Skills Assessment Letter. Your certificate of admission as a lawyer will suffice. I've attached a spreadsheet showing the costs I've spent. In summary: On further study: a little under £10,000 On the process of being admitted in Australia (excluding the study costs above): a bit over £4,000, although about £1,000 of the cost of flights was returning in Premium Economy. On the fundamentals of making a visa application: over £5,000 Giving a grand total of: £19,078 over 2 years. 10.08.16 - Initial assessment of academic qualifications by LPAB received (Constitutional Law, Law of Associations, Legal Ethics, Practice & Procedure) 01.09.16 - Initial assessment of PLT (practical legal training) qualifications by LPAB received (One elective subject plus Commercial & Corporate Practice) 22.09.16 - Offered places on University of New England courses for academic subjects (distance learning) 05.10.16 - Applied for conditional admission as lawyer 24.10.16 - Started Corporations Law course 01.12.16 - Refused conditional admission by LPAB 20.02.17 - Started Constitutional Law course 23.05.17 - Constitutional Law exam 31.05.17 - Corporations Law exam 26.06.17 - Started Professional Conduct and Civil & Criminal Procedure courses. 13.08.17 - Commercial & Corporate Practice PLT oral assessment (College of Law) 11.09.17 - Commercial & Corporate Practice result 26.09.17 - Professional Conduct exam 27.09.17 - Civil & Criminal Procedure exam 20.10.17 - UNE academic results 10.11.17 - Final assessment of academic qualifications by LPAB 12.11.17 - Administrative Law PLT elective oral assessment (College of Law) 13.11.17 - Administrative Law PLT result 19.12.17 - Applied for unconditional admission as lawyer 06.02.18 - Application for admission approved by LPAB 23.03.18 - Admission ceremony in Sydney (Supreme Court of NSW) 05.04.18 - EOI submitted - Barrister ANZSCO 271111 (75 points) 08.04.18 - EOI updated 13.04.18 - Police checks requested 18.04.18 - Invited to apply for 189 visa 19.04.18 - Medicals booked 19.04.18 - Police checks prepared / dated 26.04.18 - Police checks received 09.05.18 - Medicals undertaken 16.05.18 - Medicals submitted to Australia by clinic 18.05.18 - Decision ready 189 application submitted 06.09.18 - Direct Grant I hope you find this useful! Australia Costs copy.xlsx
  2. LawyerAbroad

    189 Visa Application - Lawyer, Barrister, Solicitor

    Please see my previous answer. I used that information to establish I worked as a self-employed lawyer.
  3. LawyerAbroad

    189 Visa Application - Lawyer, Barrister, Solicitor

    I did this by sending: 10 years' worth of electronic professional diary; 10 years' worth of insurance certificates; tax returns; and statutory declarations by colleagues confirming my experience.
  4. LawyerAbroad

    189 Visa Application - Lawyer, Barrister, Solicitor

    Hi Zami, My background is as a barrister. I applied for my 189 visa as a Barrister and I was only as a lawyer admitted to the SC of NSW. I did not need to apply for or be admitted as a barrister in Australia to apply for a 189 as a Barrister. Your admission certificate does the job of a skills assessment, which is why you don't need a letter. Good luck
  5. LawyerAbroad

    189 Visa Application - Lawyer, Barrister, Solicitor

    My only experience is of NSW. I chose NSW because it appeared a very efficient online application process. It was pretty straight forwards. Admission in one state will be sufficient to secure recognition in other States and Territories.
  6. LawyerAbroad

    189 Visa Application - Lawyer, Barrister, Solicitor

    Hi, to get a positive skills assessment as a solicitor or barrister your husband would need to be admitted as an Australian lawyer. That means going through the rigmarole of your husband having his legal qualifications compared to the legal qualifications that are required for admission to the Australian legal profession. It's certainly a costly and long process for getting those few extra points! I don't think being a lawyer in a non-English speaking country is a bar to cross-qualifying. However, he may find that coming from a non-common law jurisdiction (such as France) means he has to study more subjects than a person who is a lawyer in a common law jurisdiction. The documents required to cross-qualify are set out on the Legal Admissions Board website. Your husband would need to choose which jurisdiction in Australia he wants admitting to and take it from there. I hope that helps and good luck.
  7. LawyerAbroad

    189 Visa Application - Lawyer, Barrister, Solicitor

    Hi Daniel, You need to submit your qualifications to a State Legal Admissions Board. It will assess how closely related your existing academic qualifications and practical skills are to what are required of lawyers/law students in Australia. It will specify the additional subjects you need to study and it is likely you will be required to complete further study. You do not need to study to get your qualifications assessed, that is a formality conducted by the SLAB. However, you will need to study to become admitted as a lawyer. It is only by being admitted as a lawyer that you will be able to demonstrate an occupation on the list. If you do not become admitted as a lawyer in Australia then you cannot apply for a 189/190 visa using Solicitor/Barrister as your specified occupation. You do not need to obtain a separate skills assessment. Your Australian lawyer admission certificate is accepted in lieu of a skills assessment. Good luck
  8. LawyerAbroad

    189 Visa Application - Lawyer, Barrister, Solicitor

    Just be sure to forensically set out everything you have done that is relevant to each component of the skills / knowledge required and explain why it is relevant. I don't think you can be criticised for too much information. I sent a lever arch of evidence!
  9. LawyerAbroad

    189 Visa Application - Lawyer, Barrister, Solicitor

    Glad you have found it useful. Good luck with the process.
  10. LawyerAbroad

    189 Visa Application - Lawyer, Barrister, Solicitor

    Great news. Congrats on getting your assessment. An important stage of the process completed!
  11. LawyerAbroad

    Solicitor applying for VISA 189. Skills assessment

    It's outside of my experience to advise you on appropriate visas for your particular circumstances. From my own enquiries, I did not find any Australian institution that ran both PLT and academic subjects. In my experience, they must be studied at two separate institutions, although I will defer to anyone else who has better experience than my own.
  12. LawyerAbroad

    Solicitor applying for VISA 189. Skills assessment

    I studied the academic subjects through the University of New England. Again, all remote learning from the UK. Online lectures and tutorials. I sat the exams at a venue in the UK. You may find this thread I set up helpful:
  13. LawyerAbroad

    Solicitor applying for VISA 189. Skills assessment

    I studied the PLT subjects through the College of Law in Australia from the UK (remote learning). You submit coursework online and oral assessment takes place via a platform similar to Skype. You don't need to do it in Australia.
  14. LawyerAbroad

    Solicitor applying for VISA 189. Skills assessment

    Just a heads up, this wasn't correct as of when I applied for a visa early in 2018. You simply need to attach a scanned copy of your admission certificate. The reference number is your admission/roll number.
  15. LawyerAbroad

    Solicitor applying for VISA 189. Skills assessment

    No, you can do select PLT subjects alongside select academic subjects. In practice - it becomes a lot of work and it was too much for me to manage alongside the day job. So I got the academic subjects out the way then turned my mind to PLT. Does that answer your question?
  16. LawyerAbroad

    189 Visa Application - Lawyer, Barrister, Solicitor

    Hi KC24, Not having your current employer to do a reference does make things tricker, I suspect. I was in chambers / self-employed / open with my plans. I got several colleagues to sign statutory declarations detailing everything known about my practice for the 10 years I was in chambers. Including: type of work, its complexity, etc. I specialise in only one area of law, which is unrelated to the academic subjects, so these references were not helpful for getting academic exemptions. They were, however, useful for getting PLT exemptions. I hope that helps.
  17. LawyerAbroad

    189 Visa Application - Lawyer, Barrister, Solicitor

    Brilliant. Congrats on getting it all together. It's an effort! I didn't use any particular email, just the online portal for submission of questions ... https://www.une.edu.au/askune
  18. LawyerAbroad

    189 Visa Application - Lawyer, Barrister, Solicitor

    Hope it goes well for you. Don't forget to update on how it works out! PS. Also might be worth contacting your university and they may be able to provide you with the tutorial schedule and reading lists from when you were at university. My university couldn't help, but I was able to get a subject list from BVC provider, which was useful for PLT exemption.
  19. LawyerAbroad

    189 Visa Application - Lawyer, Barrister, Solicitor

    Hi KC24, Really glad this post was of some interest / use to you. So I broke the subjects down into two categories. 1) Those I could try to get exemption from based on my university studies. 2) Those I could try to get exemption from based on being a practising barrister (that included trust accounting). For items in (1), I put together as much as I could. For example, I studied the Law of Evidence at university. I went to my parents' attic and found my old text book (photocopied the Contents pages), found all my old lecture /tutorial handouts and put them into a file. In my submission I explained how what I studied was very similar / identical to Evidence in Aus. And I did that for every subject that I was looking for exemption for. I remember doing the same for Administrative Law and the other subjects. For items in (2), I wrote quite a lengthy piece for each item. For example, for trust accounting I explained that I am Direct Access qualified (I sent over the lever arch of study material for that course). I explained, making reference to the course material, how I understood the restrictions on dealing with client money, etc etc and how I deployed that in practice. I used the University of New England. They are very quick at responding to online queries and will provide individual course quotes. The university was very easy to deal with overall and I would recommend it. Don't forget about the (not insignificant) cost of buying textbooks and shipping them over. I used the UNE book shop. So I did continue to work. I had the luxury of being self-employed, which meant I could take the days off for the 3 hour exams, which I took at the University of Leeds. All the exams were open book, which took some of the pressure of revision, but I still prepared crib sheets with key cases, etc so I wasn't wading through my course notes or text book. The study during the term was intense. Its an 11 week course (I think) for each subject. You have your 3 hour exam during week 12. So if you get behind with the work you end up in a bad place! Every week involves at least 100 pages plus of text book reading across two textbooks, usually. In addition there is a 2-3 hour lecture to watch AND a 1 hour tutorial. That is all per 1 subject. I studied over 2 semesters and did 2 subjects in both semesters. So that was 200 pages, 2 letters, etc. In week 5 (again I think) there is a 2,500 word coursework per subject to complete that is usually 30-40% of your final grade. Is that any help?
  20. LawyerAbroad

    189 Visa Application - Lawyer, Barrister, Solicitor

    Hi, so yes the first step is to get your qualifications assessed by one of the State Legal Admissions Board. Whether you would have the same number of courses as me, just comes down to what they say. I had to do four academic and two practical legal training, which I know is fewer than most people. This isn't a quick process and there is always the risk you will start cross-qualifying, only to find that Barrister / Solicitor is taken off the list! It has been flagged for removal in years past. Good luck
  21. LawyerAbroad

    189 Visa Application - Lawyer, Barrister, Solicitor

    Hi selfhelp My profuse apologies for my tardy reply. I haven't been on the site for a while! About to DM you. Kind regards
  22. LawyerAbroad

    Solicitor applying for VISA 189. Skills assessment

    Congratulations. It's a real slog. Well worth it in the end. Do you have an admission date in mind?
  23. LawyerAbroad

    189 Visa Application - Lawyer, Barrister, Solicitor

    Oh I see. Excuse my misunderstanding, from what you said I thought you were speaking from experience. Unfortunately, as I discovered, its a misconception on this forum that simply being experienced or having done 'X' number of years as a lawyer gets you out of doing any further study as you suggest. There are 11 academic ('Priestley') subjects and 8 Practical Subjects. All applicants for admission must evidence that their overseas study or practice has equivalence (particularised explicitly) to each and every element of the subject. That means you could have been a lawyer for 40 years, but if you never studied or practised Corporations Law (like me) or Australian Constitutional Law (like me) then you will have to undertake that further study. Frustrating and expensive! Attached are the Uniform Principles, which set it all out and which I found very helpful. Hope that helps. Uniform Principles for assessing Overseas Qualifications - with LPAB deletions on 17-03-2016.pdf
  24. LawyerAbroad

    189 Visa Application - Lawyer, Barrister, Solicitor

    Oh no, that would be frustrating! Sadly, I'm no spring chicken any more, with 10 years at the Bar. From my research, I was quite fortunate in having to do just 4 academic subjects. How many did you have to do? When did you do your re-qualification / further exams? There's obviously the course fees, purchase/importation of textbooks (they can't be purchased in the UK) and the fees for overseas exams. I hoped to leave a resource in the forum for future cross-qualifiers / lawyers who want to migrate, having done very extensive research on the most affordable options for further study. Would you be able to post where you found cheaper so they can be steered to what you saw and not just what I did? Ta!
  25. LawyerAbroad

    189 Visa Application - Lawyer, Barrister, Solicitor

    Thank you. Not got round to thinking about any of that!! Not even on the radar! My partner and I heading down in March to check-in the visas. Stops in NSW and VIC. I've been to Brisbane and Perth before, loved both, but expect I'm on a short leash the two main cities. Thanks again.
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