You might be wondering: Who is this guy? What could he possibly know about my situation, let alone fix it? And why would he even care?
In truth, I really don’t know if I can solve your problems. But I have been doing this - helping employers and individuals with immigration issues – since 2007. It’s not an easy area of law, not at all. Certainly, there are more lucrative specialties in which to practice law, areas that are less stressful, less political, offering the lure of an easy life.
So how on earth did I end up doing what I do?
Well, I could tell you all about how I topped the University of Melbourne law faculty in Migration Law – but that’s not where I learnt about the visa process and the toll it can take. Not in law school.
I could tell you about how I sat the gruelling exams to get accredited as a Specialist in Immigration – but again, that’s not where I learnt about immigration, its joys and heartaches. How it can make or break a couple. A family. A business. A life.
Instead, if you have the patience, I’m going to tell you about a series of life-shaping events that, for better or worse, made me the immigration lawyer I am today.
I was born in Australia. But like so many others in this country, my life has been deeply influenced by my immigrant forbears as well as my subsequent experiences in other countries.
So while Australia will always be home, I am ultimately the product of many countries.
My Immigrant Grandparents
I grew up with grandparents who had funny accents that were oddly similar to characters from the Muppets. I didn’t ask my grandparents too much about where they had come from, and they didn’t seem to want to talk about it too much. Now that it’s too late, I sort of wish I had.
But what I do know is that my grandparents fled Europe before the outbreak of World War II. The decision very likely saved their lives. Most of the rest of the family were not so lucky.
What this country did for my grandparents, for my family – I wish it could do for every person seeking a better life.
Life as a Temporary Sponsored Worker
My immigrant grandparents are no longer with us. But in my lifetime I have lived as an expat in Asia, Europe and the Middle East.
I loved the experience of living overseas. But I also know what it is to be a stranger in a strange land.
I know what it feels like to be forced to carry an “Alien Registration Card” at all times.
I know what it is to exist in a limbo that is home and yet not home – and all the instability and uncertainty that come with not knowing where you will be living in a year’s time. Dealing with a bureaucracy that constantly changes the rules. Case officers who, with the stroke of a keyboard, can change the course of your life in the 5 minutes before their tea break.
I clearly remember the pain and frustration of leaving the fate of my sponsored work visa in the hands of a migration adviser who kept me in the dark – balls were being dropped, calls were not being answered, deadlines were approaching...
But I also remember the kindness of the HR manager (an incredible woman with her own migration story) who took it upon herself to find a new immigration lawyer to handle my application - someone who, apart from being a technical expert, was efficient, supportive, and understood what this meant to me and the company. That same immigration lawyer held both our hands through the entire process until my visa was granted.
I was fortunate in that my team wasn't willing to gamble on my visa application. I only wish everyone could find the right help when they need it.
I Even Married an Immigrant!
Finally, I know the heartache of being separated from one’s non-Australian partner. Not knowing what the future holds. Opening one’s private life to the scrutiny of anonymous case officers. Late night calls on Skype. Planning, and dreaming, from afar.
I sponsored my wife for a Partner Visa. It was a process I knew only too well as an immigration lawyer, but it taught me what that experience is like for people on “the other side”. Without question, it made me a better lawyer.
I guess I was lucky. I was “on the other side” – but at least I knew what I was doing. I drew on all my skill, all my years of experience, and not least all my heart, to get my partner’s visa processed within a few days.
I only wish I could do the same for every person separated from their beloved.
Why I Do What I Do
Australia is a country defined by the paradox of a national identity based on coming from somewhere else. My family was no different.
I will never forget what Australia did for my grandparents.
I will never forget the kindness of the HR manager and immigration lawyer who helped secure my employer-sponsored visa overseas.
And I will never forget how my partner cried when we got that precious email notifying us that she could live with me in Australia.
Being an immigration lawyer is hard. But I also know that being an immigration applicant is harder still.
And it has been my life’s work to do whatever I can, in however small a way, to make it easier.
If you are looking for a professional lawyer, Ariel is your guy!
From the first meeting I knew he would deliver results. Previously, I have hesitated using lawyers because I have failed to find them trustworthy. Ariel has managed to completely change my opinion; with his transparency, vast knowledge, and positivity, he managed to make me feel at ease and comfortable to open up and fully work with him. He was always well-presented and one step ahead; I truly admire his critical thinking and problem solving skills.
Thank you for your hard work, Ariel! You are a true expert in what you do and an amazing human to boot. Thank you for all the time and effort you put into my case!
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