BDO has appointed immigration law specialist Maria Jockel to lead the practice, which will grant clients access to legal services in all aspects of immigration law.
Following the announcement, BDO’s Melbourne managing partner David Garvey said the firm is “delighted” that Ms Jockel will lead the new practice, given her work with national and international corporations and high-net-worth individuals.
BDO also noted Ms Jockel has gained unique experience in immigration law from her years in private sector and government environments.
“There are significant opportunities to grow a premium immigration law service at a national and global level, given the complexities of Australia’s immigration laws and the growth in demand for temporary and permanent entry to Australia,” Mr Garvey said.
“BDO’s migration advice service will complement the firm’s global mobility, business, tax, advisory, corporate and regulatory compliance and related services to achieve exceptional results for our clients,” he added.
The announcement came after the Australian government recently reduced the number of industry sectors eligible for the 457 visa scheme, which allows people to come to Australia and work for an approved business for up to four years.
Commenting on the scheme, Ms Jockel said Australia’s immigration laws are complex and subject to frequent change.
“The aim of the 457 program has always been to meet genuine skill shortages, not to undercut local labour and employment conditions, and to protect overseas skilled workers from exploitation,” she said.
“As the proposed changes to 457 visas are still a subject of debate, the impact of these changes has yet to be seen.
“The complexity of 457 visa law means that increasingly, discerning clients will seek out expert advice, which can only be positive for BDO’s immigration law practice.”
Ms Jockel is a registered migration agent in Australia and New Zealand, has been recognised in the peer-reviewed Best Lawyers (2008 to 2017) and is a prolific author in all aspects of immigration and citizenship law.