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LAWS503 Introduction to Australian Migration Law

Unit rationale, description and aim

Building on knowledge gained from the student's introduction to the Australian visa system, this unit engages students in the specific requirements, criteria and definitions associated with family, refugee and humanitarian visas. Effective advocacy plays a major part in the application of these visas. Knowledge of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and Australia's ratification of the Convention and how it is interpreted today with respect to Australian migration law will be utilized by students when assisting their clients. An understanding of global political and discriminatory persecution will be introduced to enable students to recognise and implement effective strategies to assist their clients. Family category encompasses a broad range of visas that deal with partners, parents, children and other family members. On completion of this unit, students should demonstrate the advanced skills needed to undertake relevant research to prepare appropriate professional diagnosis of client needs, communications, submissions and applications to government and other stakeholders specifically in relation to family, refugee and humanitarian visas.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Locate, navigate and interpret Migration legislation relating to visas for families and refugees and identify the role of policy. (GA4, GA5, GA8) 

LO2 - Demonstrate knowledge on family and refugee visa applications and processing including types of visas, validity, criteria and conditions (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9) 

LO3 - Strategically analyse and assess client’s family and refugee visa eligibility and effectively communicate with stakeholders (GA3, GA4, GA5) 

LO4 - Research, formulate and implement appropriate strategies for providing effective practical advice to clients on family and refugee visa options and pathways. (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9) 

Graduate attributes

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


  • Overview of Family, Refugee and Humanitarian visas 
  • Role of effective Advocacy 
  • Global political and discriminatory persecution 
  • Humanitarian visas 
  • Refugee visas  
  • Partner visas 
  • Family violence provisions 
  • Parent visas 
  • Child visas 
  • Other family visas 
  • Other visas 
  • Interpretation, definitions and meanings 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

 This is the fifth unit in the Graduate Diploma in Australian Migration Law and Practice. It is the prescribed qualification for initial registration with the Office of Migration Agents Registration Authority (OMARA) as per s289A of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth).   


Our strategy is to encourage students to actively engage with unit content and their peers. Up to 80% of graduates will be in practice as sole practitioners. It is envisaged that developing a community of practice within each unit of learning will encourage students to maintain connections with peers into their professional careers. 


This subject will be delivered online only. We have taken an online learning approach to provide accessibility and flexibility to our post graduate students and a student focused approach that increases depth of learning and engagement through actively utilising LEO. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

This graduate course is the prescribed qualification for registration with OMARA to provide migration advice. On completion of all units, students who wish to apply for registration will also sit an independent capstone examination regulated by OMARA. 


The assessment tasks for this unit are designed to demonstrate achievement of each of the learning outcomes listed. Occupational Competency Standards have been produced by the Department of Home Affairs and have guided our assessment as the underpinning knowledge and skills required by a migration law practitioner. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Engagement in designated online activities 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4 

GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9 

Written Advice to Client  


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4 

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9 

Client Interview and File Note  


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4 

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9 

Representative texts and references


Legendcom http://  

Australian Guide to Legal Citations, Third Edition 

Acts Interpretation Act 1901 (Cth) 

Legislative Instruments Act 2003 (Cth) 

Migration Act 1958 (Cth) 

Migration Regulations 1994 

Department of Home Affairs Procedural Instructions and Policy 

United Nations High Commission for Refugees  

The Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, 1951  

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child  

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