How to migrate & qualify as a solicitor in Australia with UK Law degree? HELP! Watch

NotYourMom
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I am graduating this October with LLB Law degree at a UK university. I want to know how long will it take to qualify as a solicitor in in Australia? And also the procedure to live and work in NSW?

I did my research, first I need my UK LLB Law degree to be assessed by the NSW law society then I guess I have to do certain exams. Finally I need to do PLT/PLC. Also I found out that I need to at least be living in Australia for 2 years in order to apply for work permit visa and later to immigrate to Sydney.

This is where I am confused because the overall duration of doing the exams and PLT would take 1.5 years, which means I won't meet the required points needed in order to apply to immigrate there.

Is there anyone here who can help me from your experience please? What I should be doing in order to successfully qualify as a solicitor and work in a major city law firm in Sydney?
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J-SP
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As I understand it, your best chance is to qualify in England and Wales and then move. You are more likely to meet the work visa requirements at that point.

Sydney is a very competitive legal job market. Finding a job at entry level, let alone one that will sponsor you, will be difficult.

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NotYourMom
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I thought about qualifying in England & Wales before even mitigating to Australia but my situation is that the law firms here in England won't give me a training contract due to bad grades in my first year. However, I got 1st for my second year and now i'm on my final semester.

Also I am an international student therefore that also puts me at a disadvantage. After speaking to some partners from magic circle firms who were kind enough to tell me the real truth that their recruitment team looks for students from Oxbridge or top 5 law schools even though all top law firms here portrait as if they hire from different universities, not only academic grades matters etc. All the partners advised me not to even go for paralegal role since it doesn't meet the requirement for home office to issue a work visa nor do the LPC in England because I will be wasting my money in the end. Some immigration solicitors confirmed that paralegal role doesn't meet the visa requirement for someone outside Europe like myself.

Therefore they asked me to find a way to move to Canada or Australia, most suggested to go to Australia and slowly build your way up. That is why I am here to find someone who knows about the pathway to legal profession in NSW, Australia?



(Original post by J-SP)
As I understand it, your best chance is to qualify in England and Wales and then move. You are more likely to meet the work visa requirements at that point.

Sydney is a very competitive legal job market. Finding a job at entry level, let alone one that will sponsor you, will be difficult.

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whenthecatcalls
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(Original post by NotYourMom)
I thought about qualifying in England & Wales before even mitigating to Australia but my situation is that the law firms here in England won't give me a training contract due to bad grades in my first year. However, I got 1st for my second year and now i'm on my final semester.

Also I am an international student therefore that also puts me at a disadvantage. After speaking to some partners from magic circle firms who were kind enough to tell me the real truth that their recruitment team looks for students from Oxbridge or top 5 law schools even though all top law firms here portrait as if they hire from different universities, not only academic grades matters etc. All the partners advised me not to even go for paralegal role since it doesn't meet the requirement for home office to issue a work visa nor do the LPC in England because I will be wasting my money in the end. Some immigration solicitors confirmed that paralegal role doesn't meet the visa requirement for someone outside Europe like myself.

Therefore they asked me to find a way to move to Canada or Australia, most suggested to go to Australia and slowly build your way up. That is why I am here to find someone who knows about the pathway to legal profession in NSW, Australia?
Sorry I cannot really help as I do not know myself but I was wondering what these top five law firms were?. Thanks
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cambio wechsel
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(Original post by NotYourMom)
find a way to move to Canada or Australia
you might be better served in looking into New Zealand, which is cheaper (to live and to study) and presently has a more relaxed attitude to immigration. Reciprocal arrangements exist between NZ and Oz and having lived in New Zealand for the period of time required to qualify might be of formal help if you then seek to move on to Australia.
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J-SP
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(Original post by NotYourMom)
I thought about qualifying in England & Wales before even mitigating to Australia but my situation is that the law firms here in England won't give me a training contract due to bad grades in my first year. However, I got 1st for my second year and now i'm on my final semester.

Also I am an international student therefore that also puts me at a disadvantage. After speaking to some partners from magic circle firms who were kind enough to tell me the real truth that their recruitment team looks for students from Oxbridge or top 5 law schools even though all top law firms here portrait as if they hire from different universities, not only academic grades matters etc. All the partners advised me not to even go for paralegal role since it doesn't meet the requirement for home office to issue a work visa nor do the LPC in England because I will be wasting my money in the end. Some immigration solicitors confirmed that paralegal role doesn't meet the visa requirement for someone outside Europe like myself.

Therefore they asked me to find a way to move to Canada or Australia, most suggested to go to Australia and slowly build your way up. That is why I am here to find someone who knows about the pathway to legal profession in NSW, Australia?
You think that Australian firms will be any different to the UK firm regards grades and sponsoring a work permit? I highly doubt they will be much different.

I haven't had direct responsibility for recruiting for Australian firms/offices, but have worked with those that do. Their processes/attitudes are not that different to how English firms/offices work. If you think the UK work permit process is tough, then Australia and in particular Sydney will be much tougher.

The advice you have been given about the English law firms is on point in places but completely awful in others. I wouldn't personally give up on the UK route just because of the opinion of 1-2 misinformed MC partners.

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J-SP
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Could you consider qualifying and gaining experience in your home country?


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NotYourMom
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Thank you for your reply. Having been studying in UK for 5 years in total(A Levels + Uni), I didn't easily give up on UK, I tried everything and I have to face the reality now since the immigration laws has changed sufficiently from the time I first came to UK. I understand Australian Law firms especially which are in cities won't be much different to UK firms when it comes to recruiting process but I am talking about the immigration policy as well.

Following the advice I received from the partners of MC firms, I contacted 4 different well experienced immigration solicitors. They said if I was in a different field for example, business or medicine then there are some options available for someone like myself outside of EU but as of now, the current UK government had made it impossible for my situation.

They all surprisingly suggested Australia than Canada mainly because like one of the users above mentioned Australia's legal system has some similarity to UK's pathway into legal profession, also their immigration laws are far more welcoming and relaxed to UK's immigration laws. For example, I can't apply for work permit if I am going to do paralegal job here, but in Australia I can upon qualifying a lawyer there of course. This is why I am here, trying to find if there is anyone who has qualified as a lawyer in Australia successfully and is working for a law firm? I want to know which route did they take and their experience?


(Original post by J-SP)
You think that Australian firms will be any different to the UK firm regards grades and sponsoring a work permit? I highly doubt they will be much different.

I haven't had direct responsibility for recruiting for Australian firms/offices, but have worked with those that do. Their processes/attitudes are not that different to how English firms/offices work. If you think the UK work permit process is tough, then Australia and in particular Sydney will be much tougher.

The advice you have been given about the English law firms is on point in places but completely awful in others. I wouldn't personally give up on the UK route just because of the opinion of 1-2 misinformed MC partners.

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J-SP
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(Original post by NotYourMom)
Thank you for your reply. Having been studying in UK for 5 years in total(A Levels + Uni), I didn't easily give up on UK, I tried everything and I have to face the reality now since the immigration laws has changed sufficiently from the time I first came to UK. I understand Australian Law firms especially which are in cities won't be much different to UK firms when it comes to recruiting process but I am talking about the immigration policy as well.

Following the advice I received from the partners of MC firms, I contacted 4 different well experienced immigration solicitors. They said if I was in a different field for example, business or medicine then there are some options available for someone like myself outside of EU but as of now, the current UK government had made it impossible for my situation.

They all surprisingly suggested Australia than Canada mainly because like one of the users above mentioned Australia's legal system has some similarity to UK's pathway into legal profession, also their immigration laws are far more welcoming and relaxed to UK's immigration laws. For example, I can't apply for work permit if I am going to do paralegal job here, but in Australia I can upon qualifying a lawyer there of course. This is why I am here, trying to find if there is anyone who has qualified as a lawyer in Australia successfully and is working for a law firm? I want to know which route did they take and their experience?
I understand - I am just questioning the advice you have received. In my opinion it is not useful and in some places lacks knowledge to give a more truthful picture of the position you currently face.

The UK immigration system has not changed in the last 5 years - the points based tier 2 system and abolishing the post study visa all happened prior to you starting your studies.

The issue I have is with is that you have been told to go to Canada or Australia in the first place. Based on the limited information you have provided about yourself, I can't see why you won't be in a good position for a TC in the UK, especially if you come out with a 1st. You can find firms who will sponsor your tier 2 visa - across the large international firms especially. If you have problems here in the UK you will find similar problems in Canada and Australia - mainly you will have to find an employer willing to sponsor you and that is very difficult in a market where it is easy to find the talent from the domestic workforce. Immigration lawyers may understand the process of obtaining the work visa, but they will have little idea of the recruitment processes needed before you even get to that stage.

The route you are seeking is not conventional. It may happen but it is going to be exceedingly rare and I suspect when it does happen, those people have the right to work in Australia. I doubt you will find someone on here who has done it. I better idea is to post something on the rollonfriday discussion boards.

Most of the purely English educated lawyers working in Australia will have qualified in the UK first, and then transferred. Many will not even be Australian qualified lawyers, instead they will only be working on the English law matters that effect the clients they are working for/with.
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chalks
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I am a lawyer who has recently returned to the UK after 10 years in Australia.

I, like all of my English expat lawyer friends in Sydney, migrated as a qualified (and experienced) English solicitor.

You might be able to get a study visa which would enable you to move to Australia for a limited time to study the exams you need to qualify in Australia.

That, however, is only the first stage. Once you'd finished your studies, and got the relevant qualifications to enable you to apply to be admitted in NSW, you'd still to (a) find a job and (b) go through the lengthy process to immigrate as a skilled migrant.

Taking (a) first, the job market in Australia for legal roles is incredibly tight. The quality of graduates is phenomenally high and your chances of securing a role are very slim. As for (b), the skilled migrant process can take a seriously long time and one cannot necessarily remain in country while that process is going on.

The old sponsored migrant process, which many of us used whilst re qualifying, is not (I believe) still available.

Essentially, Australia is a seriously difficult country to move to. Their rules on immigration are surprisingly tight for a country with a low population and vast amounts of space.

If you're still interested, I'd recommend you spend some money instructing an Australian immigration firm familiar with the legal industry.


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Livvy2005
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hey im just wondering what you did afterwards, im a student in my 3rd year looking to move to Australia and become a solicitor there, and I do not know whether to do my LPC and Masters here first before I go ?
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bronse
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(Original post by Livvy2005)
hey im just wondering what you did afterwards, im a student in my 3rd year looking to move to Australia and become a solicitor there, and I do not know whether to do my LPC and Masters here first before I go ?
In short, it is a lot harder than people think. I agree with the post above you that the market is incredibly tight and particularly law is becoming a very saturated profession.

I moved there to do my Masters a year after finishing my LLB not having the intention of staying, I just wanted to study a Masters in a foreign country. I ended up loving it and started to move down the path of trying to qualify. However, you have to do a minimum of 3 Australian law subjects due to their federal system being different to England. To do this you need a student visa which only 1 or 2 universities in Australia will grant you for only studying single subjects. So problem 1, visa. These subjects are also around AUD 3000-5000 each depending on the university. And problem 2, cost.

If you have an Australian passport you do not have to worry about problem 1 or problem 2 (as much) because you are a citizen and have citizen study prices.

Then there is the problem of actually finding a law firm to take you on - none will sponsor you with a visa. Additionally many won't take you on without you having secured permanent residency (PR) which is notoriously hard to get unless you have sponsorship. So that is problem 3.

This is a very brief overview but if you have any other questions just hit me up.
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Livvy2005
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Ok thank you so much, I think ill stay and do everything here first then move, it's just so frustrating because im not particular fond of staying in the UK for another 3-5 years. I am actually heading out to OZ next month for a few weeks, so hopefully I can find even more information. Thanks again I really appreciated your reply
(Original post by bronse)
In short, it is a lot harder than people think. I agree with the post above you that the market is incredibly tight and particularly law is becoming a very saturated profession.

I moved there to do my Masters a year after finishing my LLB not having the intention of staying, I just wanted to study a Masters in a foreign country. I ended up loving it and started to move down the path of trying to qualify. However, you have to do a minimum of 3 Australian law subjects due to their federal system being different to England. To do this you need a student visa which only 1 or 2 universities in Australia will grant you for only studying single subjects. So problem 1, visa. These subjects are also around AUD 3000-5000 each depending on the university. And problem 2, cost.

If you have an Australian passport you do not have to worry about problem 1 or problem 2 (as much) because you are a citizen and have citizen study prices.

Then there is the problem of actually finding a law firm to take you on - none will sponsor you with a visa. Additionally many won't take you on without you having secured permanent residency (PR) which is notoriously hard to get unless you have sponsorship. So that is problem 3.

This is a very brief overview but if you have any other questions just hit me up.
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