Article:

BDO's Thought Leaders: Maria Jockel

17 April 2018

"In my view Australia has embarked upon its own Brexit, in that the government wishes to ensure that as a sovereign nation it can decide who gets in, on what basis, when, how, or if at all."
- Maria Jockel, Legal Principal and National Leader of BDO Migration Services.

Australia has some of the most complex immigration laws in the world. It's no mean feat, therefore, that Maria Jockel has become one of this country's leading immigration law specialists, making it into the International Who's Who of Corporate Immigration Lawyers (2010-2017), and recognised in the peer-reviewed ‘Best Lawyers’ in the area of immigration law for eight consecutive years.

A true expert in Australian immigration law

Maria is highly regarded by government and businesses alike, and is frequently invited to speak at a range of events. This has recently included the International Bar Association's Annual Conference in Sydney, the BDO Expatriate Tax Global Conference in Berlin, and the Global Immigration Law Conference in London.

Publications by Maria include 457 Visa Law: Addressing Australia's Skilled Labour Shortage, as well as contributing chapters in Global Mobility, Getting the Deal Through: Corporate Immigration and Immigration Law Client Strategies in the Asia-Pacific.

Exceptional services and results

When it comes to BDO, Maria heads BDO Migration Services, an incorporated immigration law practice which provides premium services and exceptional results in all aspects of immigration and nationality law with particular emphasis on skilled temporary and permanent residency and business skills visas.  

With pre-eminent strategic and practical experience, Maria and her immigration law team offer exceptional services and results based on the highest levels of professional legal standards and understanding of policy formulation and application.  

‘The programme is getting more and more restrictive’

Maria states that “Australia’s immigration laws are becoming more and more restrictive and complex in response to the significant and ongoing growth and demand for temporary and permanent entry visas.”

Maria explains, “Australia’s immigration laws are arguably the most complex in the world. There are over 3,000 pages of legislation and some 25,000 pages of policy guidelines which guide decision makers in their decision making powers. It is a highly complex and constantly changing regulatory framework with the government’s focus on national security, maintaining the integrity of the visa system, and the rule of law.”

Following the establishment of the Department of Home Affairs (the Department) and the Home Affairs Portfolio on 20 December 2017, the Department now includes Australia’s national and transport security, federal law enforcement, criminal justice, cybersecurity, border, immigration, multicultural affairs, emergency management, and trade related functions.

The Minister for Home Affairs, who has a dual role as the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, is supported by the Minister for Law Enforcement and Cybersecurity and the Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs.

The Department of Home Affairs Portfolio supports a “federation” of independent security and law enforcement agencies. This includes the Australian Border Force (as Australia’s front-line border law enforcement agency), the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission.

These changes reflect the ongoing commitment by the Australian Government to protect and manage Australia’s borders at a time of heightened border security and law enforcement concerns.

The Department shares significant data with the Australia Taxation Office relating to individuals and businesses to assess risk and to deliver compliance and enforcement outcomes.

These changes have significant implications for businesses seeking to recruit or employ overseas workers.

Businesses must ensure that they meet the regulatory requirements and be aware of the risks that come with not fully appreciating the complexity of Australia's immigration laws.

The Minister of Immigration is proposing new legislation which allows the Minister to name a company which is an approved 457 visa sponsor if they breach their sponsorship obligations,” says Maria. “The proposed Bill protects the Minister from civil liability in publishing this information in good faith.”

Caltex, 7/11 and Dominos are just a few of the high profile names that have suffered huge reputational and financial losses as a result of immigration law breaches.

Maria says, “In the digital age with data matching, and the transfer of data from one agency to another, there is close cooperation between the Department and other government agencies including the Australian Taxation Office as part of risk assessment and delivery compliance and enforcement measures.”

BDO’s global network extends across 162 countries and territories, with 73,854 people working out of 1,500 offices – and they’re all working towards one goal: to provide our clients with exceptional service.

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