visa refusal

The verdict is in: soft (skills) is best!

Visa cancellations and visa refusals under the Migration Act 1958 are no soft topic.

Visa cancellations and visa refusals under the Migration Act 1958 are no soft topic.

soft skills


  1. personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people.

If there’s a set of skills most lawyers lack, it’s soft skills.

That is why, soft skills are what distinguish Samuta McComber Lawyers from the rest. Our lawyers’ soft skills complement their hard-earned legal expertise and analytical intelligence, so that the truth of our clients stories can be better told to the decision makers who ultimately hold our clients’ lives in their hands.

Needless to say, when you are facing a possible visa cancellation under s501 of the Migration Act 1958 or have received a non-revocation outcome by a delegate of the Minister of Home Affairs (and you intend on appealing that decision to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal ( AAT ) ), it is in your best interests to engage lawyers whose expertise is complemented by excellent soft skills. The following are the top 3 reasons why:

  1. the character-related provisions (s116 and s501) of the Migration Act 1958 is a complex area of law - not all lawyers have sound knowledge or experience in this niche area of immigration law;

  2. the ramifications for a visa refusal or visa cancellation under s501 is permanent exclusion from returning to Australia - literally, a life long ban, with no exceptions whatsoever; and

  3. when appearing at the AAT in relation to a s501 visa cancellation, the lawyers for the Minister of Home Affairs will play an active role in the proceedings (they will be at the final hearing to make submissions, examine and cross-examine the Applicant and the evidence relied on). The Minister for Home Affairs is of course represented by the Australian Government Solicitor or a top-tier law firm (currently Sparke Helmore Lawyers or Clayton Utz Lawyers).

Soft skills are our point of difference.

The following list are our top 7 sought after soft skills for our legal team:

#1: A genuine desire to help other people

#2: High personal integrity

#3: Humility and sensitivity

#4: Simplicity

#5: Empathetic listeners

#6: Confidence and persistence

#7: Discipline, dependability, and loyalty

Lets be real, representing clients whose visas have been refused or cancelled under s116 and s501 of the Migration Act 1958 is a tough gig! Professionally, the legislation is complex, yet specific, with strict deadlines and specific considerations. Personally, the nature of the work is highly emotive and demanding, with daily exposure to clients’ family units being torn apart by the threat of (or actual) deportation and individuals being removed from the only home (country) they’ve ever known.

The reality of the legal consequences for our clients and their loved ones drive our personal commitment to provide a level of representation:

  • that is driven by a passion to selflessly assist others, instead of being focussed on the money;

  • that demonstrates a deep commitment to honesty, loyalty, candor, transparency, and respect for others;

  • where we put ourselves in others’ shoes, seeing our clients’ situations, attitudes, and needs through their eyes;

  • that strives to be down-to-earth, communicating in simple language and avoid using “legalese”, recognising that our clients have unique styles, interests, and needs, having come from different walks of life;

  • that is confident and unshakable, refined only by respect and efficiency.

In our view, soft skills allows us to make better submissions on behalf of our clients, and we understand the knowledge gained through our deeper relationship with our client adds to our responsibility as their advocate as we observe and interpret our client’s story to the decision maker, whether it be the delegate of the Minister for Home Affairs or Member of the AAT .

After all, every one has a story to tell: their lives being more than the sum of their offences (character).