Solicitors moving to Australia

 Gavel  and Flag of Australia

  Recently, I received a question from an Irish solicitor called Stephen asking about how Irish solicitor can emigrate to Australia. In the past, I’ve assisted a number of number of overseas qualified solicitors apply for skilled migration visas to facilitate a move to Australia. The main factor to be aware of if you are an overseas qualified solicitor is that eligibility to apply for a skilled migration visa as a solicitor is based you having gained admission to practise in Australia. The process involves:

  • applying to the Legal Profession Admissions Boardto to have your academic qualifications in particular your bachelor degree assessed for admission to practice in Australia. Most Irish/UK solicitors then have 1 or 2 subjects they need to take i.e Australian constitutional law and Professional responsibility. These can be taken long distance with Australian universities, like the University of New England based in Armidale, NSW. It will probably take about 6 months and each subject costs about AU$2,000 but you need to check directly with the university for their exact figures. Once you have taken the exams and passed you will be eligible to apply for admission to practice in Australia. You will need to make the application for admission, attend your admission ceremony in Australia to obtain your Certificate of Admission before you can then start the skilled migration visa application process.
  • Other factors to consider are taking the IELTS test and aiming to gain a superior result which is a score of 8 in each of the four bands of reading, writing. listening and speaking.
  • If you are aged between 25 – 39 hold and Australian certificate of admission to practice, have a superior IELTS score as well as a bachelor of laws degree you should have a sufficient pass mark to apply for a skilled independent visa sub class 189.  This is general information, if you are an overseas qualified solicitor and seriously considering this process, do the right thing by yourself and get a proper assessment of your eligibility and confirmation of your pass mark.
  • The current passmark for the skilled independent visa subclass 189 is 60 points. Getting an assessment of your visa eligibility to apply (subject to being admitted to practice in Australia) before you launch into the process of getting admitted to practice in Australia will ensure you know that you meet the other visa requirements as well.

Good luck!