Expert Tips on Getting Australian Visitor Visas [Sri Lankan TV’s Interview with Ariel Brott]

Our Principal Lawyer recently appeared on Sri Lankan TV, where he was interviewed about visitor visas, skilled visas, business (188 and 888) visas and employer-sponsored visas including the new subclass 482 TSS visa.

This is the first part of a 3-part interview series. You can check out the rest here:

Watch the full interview here.

Bandu: Me and my business. In this segment of Vishvavahini TV, we intend to introduce key personnel from local businesses which have been contributing significantly to the community and also has the potential of contributing through their businesses to the community. In our studio, we have Mr Ariel Brott. He’s the founder, director and a partner of Glomo, Global Mobility Immigration Lawyers. Welcome to the studio, Ariel.

Ariel: Thank you, Bandu. Thanks for having me.

Bandu: Good, actually I understand you’re not only a, sort of a migration agent, you’re a practising lawyer too.

Ariel: I am. That’s right.

Bandu: So that’s the key difference, I think.

Ariel: That’s one of the key differences. I’d like to think that there are quite a few.

Bandu: Okay, so to begin with, can you give us a brief description of your company and the services.

Ariel: Sure. Okay, Bandu. I’m actually an accredited specialist immigration lawyer. So I’ve been through the Law Institute of Victoria’s rigorous programme in order to become accredited. Not many people have. My business as you’ve mentioned is called Global Mobility Immigration Lawyers. And what we do is we work with businesses, we work with families, we work with couples, we work with individuals, and we help these people get visas to Australia. Or if they’re already in Australia, we help them keep their visas if they’ve run into some trouble. And we help people change their visas if they’ve realised that, well, I may be a student now but I’d like to become a permanent resident, and so on. So we see everything and anything. We only do immigration. And we love doing it. We work with many different communities, including the Sri Lankan community. And we hope to keep doing so for a long time.

Bandu: And also, so how long have you been doing this, Ariel?

Ariel: I first became a lawyer in 2003. I first registered as a migration agent – because while I’m an immigration lawyer, I’m also a registered immigration agent, migration agent – I first registered in 2007. So I’ve been doing this for quite a long time. But my business itself – Global Mobility Immigration Lawyers – has been in existence just since last year. I went out on my own for the first time after working for one of the more prominent immigration law firms in Melbourne. And now I’m a partner at my own firm.

Bandu: So with that wealth of experience, you can surely help the community in various immigration matters. So let’s talk about some of the burning issues concerning the people in our community.

Ariel: “Burning” issues is a good description of sometimes, of my clients’ issues, but yeah, please go on.

Bandu: And places like Sri Lanka now economically there is considerable growth. And therefore there are people who have accumulated wealth through their businesses and so on. Now, let’s talk about a very simple scenario. Those people, they would like to visit Australia for a short holiday. So, which requires what category of visa? Is it a visitor…

Ariel: There’s a visitor visa. There are actually several. But for their purposes, it will typically be the sub-class 600 visitor visa. And there are three different streams within that visa, depending on their purpose.

Bandu: So in order to do that, so what are the basic things that the Australian immigration or the High Commission in Sri Lanka look for?

Ariel: Sure. Okay, the most burning issue, typically for people coming from Sri Lanka and other countries, is the genuineness requirement. So there is this expectation that people coming on a visitor visa are only coming to visit temporarily and they intend to go home. What the government doesn’t want to see – and again, Australian immigration is terribly political – but what they don’t want to see is somebody coming on a tourist visa, and then landing and then deciding, oh hang on, I’m a refugee, I’d like to make a protection claim. Now it may very well be that you are a refugee and you’re fleeing for your life. And I’m very sympathetic to that. But the government’s not necessarily very sympathetic to that. So what they want to see is, is this person genuine? There are a number of things that you can do to establish that, because they certainly make it difficult for many genuine visitors to come here and enjoy this beautiful country. So first it comes down to, what is the purpose of your travel? Okay, so it may be business, it may be family, it may just be tourism. So they want to see that you have evidence to show that that is consistent with that intention. So say you’re coming for business. Okay? Typically, they’d like to see, well, what sort of business is this? Are you attending a conference? Well, please show us evidence of this conference. Are you coming to negotiate a contract?

Bandu: Or maybe to explore opportunities of investment here?

Ariel: Precisely. So they’d like to see, for example, do you have a history, is there correspondence, have you been emailing around about this prior to making your application for a visa.

Bandu: Some sort of history.

Ariel: They want to see the history there. And they want to see that these things actually exist. You didn’t make something up. So they’d like to see evidence of that purpose. And then, depending on that purpose, they may want to see a letter of invitation. So if you’re coming to explore a business opportunity with another company or a joint venture partner, well, get them to provide a letter saying, we’d like to invite you to discuss this opportunity. You need to be careful about the kind of business activities you are engaging in and that they don’t cross over the line into what immigration would consider work. So if you’re providing goods and services and so on, typically that might be stepping over the line. And if you’re exploring an opportunity, negotiating a contract, attending a conference, these sorts of things, see if you can get a letter of invitation.

Bandu: Right. That is from a local body here?

Ariel: Yeah, that’s right. So from the local business in Australia or the people organising the conference, or whatever the case might be. So a lot of it is common sense.

Bandu: Can I ask you what should be the prime content of that letter? It’s just an introduction of the local entity here? And what else?

Ariel: Well, look, again, it’s a common sense matter. And you’re spot on there. So again, depending on the nature of the visit and the nature of the organisation, the letter should set out a little bit of background about, who am I? This person writing this letter. Who do I represent? What is the specific activity or event that I’m inviting this person to come for? What’s the background and history of that event as well? Really showing the bona fides of the company, that this is a real thing, it’s really happening, giving a bit of context to the visit. And setting out, well, you’d like to come for this purpose and so on, and anything else that might be relevant. For example, it may be that this business is actually funding the trip. You’re a very important person from Sri Lanka and they’d like you to come. They’ve given you first class tickets to come down, they’re paying for your hotel and so on. But that’s a separate issue, going to the financial capacity as well, and that’s something else that comes into all of this.

Bandu: If it is purely for touring purposes, no involvement in business or anything, probably they’ll have to show their financial status, whether they are capable of…?

Ariel: Yeah. And look, let’s get back to the genuineness side. Because what is really is really tough, particularly to people who just want to come and see this country, they risk rate people, they profile people, as odious as that sounds. So what will typically happen is they’ll take a look. So if you’re a young single woman from Sri Lanka, they might think, well, based on our statistics, people who meet this demographic – and this is just an example I’m throwing out there – typically they don’t just stay temporarily. They come and suddenly they lodge a partner visa application or something like that. So they’ll ethnic profile you, they’ll age profile you and so on, and make it difficult. Now there are a few things you can show to help them believe that it is actually a genuine visit. And these things are, broadly speaking, they want to see that you have a greater incentive to return home than to stay in Australia.

Bandu: Like a letter of leave from the current institution?

Ariel: Exactly. So what incentives do you have to return? So what things do you have back in Sri Lanka that are actually of value and would make someone want to return? So it might be, you have a good job there. Okay? So you get a letter of leave from your boss saying, yes, such and such is a valued employee here. We’ve granted him one month of leave to travel in Australia and he’d be back on such and such a date. Maybe you have a business, a very lucrative business. You’ll provide business registration documents, financial documents showing that you’ve got a business to return to. Other things, assets. Do you have significant assets there? Do you have property? Do you have plant and equipment in your business?

Bandu: It all boils down to what you said, genuineness, and proving that.

Ariel: Exactly. If your opportunities in Australia are greater than they are in Sri Lanka, they don’t look favourably upon it.

Bandu: Okay. So, before we go on to the other subjects, Ariel, can we take a little break?

Ariel: Sure.

Bandu: Commercial break?

Ariel: Okay.