Australia’s migration law system is akin to a minefield. Said to be the country’s second most complex set of laws (after taxation), the already messy and labyrinthine system experiences nearly constant legislative and policy change. Tom has been working exclusively in Australian migration law since 2011 and is well-known in the migration advice profession.
Tom was born and raised in Canada. Soon after graduating with his first university degree in Business Administration and Economics, he travelled to Australia on a working holiday visa. At that time, obtaining the lawful right to come to Australia to work, live, and travel around the country was akin to winning a lottery. Tom was here for a year and made a decision to somehow find a way to migrate here permanently. A land with beautiful beaches, clean air and water, unlimited opportunities and a cultural similarity with Canada (but with far warmer weather!) made Australia a dream destination.
In 1994 Tom achieved the goal of becoming an Australian permanent resident. He was living in Japan at the time he applied. He had recently graduated with a master’s degree in Education (Applied Linguistics) and a Cambridge University Royal Society of the Arts Certificate. He passed level one of the notorious Japanese Language Proficiency Exam – a remarkable achievement. Tom migrated as a Japanese language teacher, one of only two jobs on the Migration Occupations in Demand List (as it was known then). He lectured in the Japanese language program at the University of the Sunshine Coast.
Tom later studied law. He graduated in 2006 from Griffith University Law School with First Class Honours. He was the top student in his graduating class. Later he studied Canadian law at Bond University in the Gold Coast and has been recognised by the accreditation board in Ottawa to practice law in Canada. His credentials are held by the Law Society of British Columbia though he has never practised law in Canada.
After admission as a legal practitioner in Queensland, Tom registered as a migration agent, a requirement for lawyers that wish to provide immigration assistance to clients. His early career mostly involved assisting Australian businesses (mostly based in towns in northern Queensland) to secure work visas for qualified and experienced employees. He mostly enjoyed helping Australians to get visas for people that they love. The eligibility requirements for a successful Partner visa application and the evidentiary requirements are not as straightforward as many people might assume. Being in a genuine relationship does not necessarily mean that the visa will be granted.
Over the years, Tom’s migration caseload has become progressively complex. Some of his work now involves trying to keep Australian families together. Long term Australian permanent residents and New Zealand citizens have become part of the Australian fabric. Some of those visa holders engaged in criminal behaviour many years ago, sometimes while in their youth. Due to changes in the character provisions in the migration legislation, their visas now can become subject to cancellation because of their misconduct from years ago. Sometimes those visa holders are in loving relationships with Australian citizens and have Australian children. If their visas are cancelled and they are removed from Australia, legislation bars them from ever being able to return to Australia.
Tom enjoys working with complex Citizenship matters; Administrative Appeals Tribunal matters; complex migration pathway matters; and all other migration related cases. The work is incredibly challenging and intellectually stimulating.
Tom is well-known amongst the migration advice professional community. He was a practitioner lecturer at the Australian National University Graduate Certificate in Australian Migration Law until that program ended. He has been a practitioner lecturer in the University of Technology Sydney’s acclaimed Graduate Diploma of Australian Migration Law since inception, and continuous to teach in that program now. His Continuous Professional Development workshops for immigration lawyers and registered migration agents are extremely popular. Participants find the seminars to be engaging and interesting.
Tom welcomes enquiries from other migration advice professionals with particularly complex situations or problems, and of course from people in the community and aspiring migrants. If your circumstances involve migration advice, please make contact with Tom. He’ll do his best to help.
“Professionalism, quality, and responsiveness! My experience with Potts Lawyers has been nothing but amazing. I was dealing with two paralegal issues. Tom and Craig handled one while Chris handled the other. Both issues were resolved in my favour. Next time I have a legal issue, I know who to call. I’m very happy with the professionalism and responsiveness of the Potts Lawyers team. They don’t waste your time and get to the bottom of the issue quickly. Highly recommended.”