The Intersection Between Criminal Law and Migration Law in Australia: A Brave New World


Social Media Twitter Facebook LinkedIn

As a law firm practicing in a number of unique areas of law, our solicitors are accustomed to guiding our clients not just through their immediate legal issue, but also providing relevant advice and assistance in other areas of law.

For example, a criminal law client may seek advice on making a discrimination complaint or an application for parole. Similarly, a migration law client who has been in a car accident may need advice from one of our personal injury lawyers.

However, it is the intersection between criminal and migration law that is becoming the most prevalent crossover in our practice - while also causing significant stress and confusion for our clients.

Over the last 12 months, we have seen record numbers of non-citizens facing deportation and exclusion from Australia subsequent to being charged with a criminal offence. Yes, you read that correctly, a non-citizen can face deportation and exclusion from Australia on the basis of a criminal charge alone!  And no one is immune from this trend, with vulnerable cohorts such as children and refugees also facing risks of deportation and exclusion from Australia following a criminal charge.

Therefore anyone residing in Australia who is not an Australian citizen and who is facing a criminal charge should be concerned about the risk of deportation and exclusion from Australia. Equally, any lawyer representing non-citizen clients in criminal and/or migration law matters needs to be cognizant of the fact that their
client’s visa status and therefore their ability to remain in Australia can change suddenly, often while criminal proceedings are in progress.

Fisher Dore Lawyers have previously presented at the Queensland Law Society’s Criminal Law Conference on the increasing trend of visa cancellations pursuant to ss116(1)(e) and 501 of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth). It was apparent from discussions during the Criminal Law Conference that significant uncertainty remains amongst legal practitioners as to the intersection between criminal and migration law and how best to approach a “crimmigration” matter. There is also limited publicly available information on the issue, to separate the facts from the myths.

For these reasons, Fisher Dore Lawyers will aim to publish a series of articles that explore the myriad of issues that arise when criminal and migration law overlap. Because of our firm’s relevant expertise in these areas of law we are uniquely placed to shed light on the key issues.

The series will consider a criminal law matter from start to finish and how migration law, specifically the operation of ss116(1)(e) and 501 of the Migration Act (Cth) 1958, can impact how a non-citizen client interacts with the criminal justice system. The series will also aim to consider the specific issues faced by non-citizen children and non-citizen
refugees when criminal and migration law intersects.

In particular, we will cover:

  • Visa cancellation processes under ss 116(1)(e) and 501 of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) and recent trends with respect to cancellations
  • Ascertaining clients’ visa and citizenship status
  • Preparing non-citizen clients for a bail hearing, sentence, and criminal trial
  • Representing non-citizen children and refugee non-citizens in criminal proceedings
  • Visa cancellations and the impact on parole
  • Criminal convictions and the impact on clients’ ability to acquire and retain Australian citizenship
  • Frequently asked questions and conclusions

Watch this space for further articles on this ever-evolving topic.

Written by: Davina Wadley and Caitlin White

This article is of a general nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. If you require further information, advice or assistance for your specific circumstances, please contact the Fisher Dore team.


left arrow round - Fisher Dore LawyersRight

Fisher Dore Lawyers have to be the best criminal lawyers in Queensland.


Great law firm. Technically brilliant, and focused on achieving the outcome that the client wants... and achieving it as quickly as possible.

Josh - Facebook Review
5 star icon - Fisher Dore Lawyers

Excellent representation - solid advice - great outcome.

Michael - Google Review
5 star icon - Fisher Dore Lawyers

Highly recommended. Real people. Respectful.

Sylvia - Google Review
5 star icon - Fisher Dore Lawyers

I’ve prosecuted against Nick Dore and I’m a fan of his work. If I ever needed a Defence solicitor in my corner, I’d choose him... what can I say, the man is brilliant.

Acts1power - Google Review
5 star icon - Fisher Dore Lawyers

Fisher Dore are Brisbane’s best law firm. Honest, genuine and (most importantly) competent lawyers who will help you achieve justice. I give them 10/10.

Moreish Food - Google Review
5 star icon - Fisher Dore Lawyers

Long term professional association. Established credibility and integrity. A pleasure to be involved in multidisciplinary team work in benefitting clients.

Alec - Google Review
5 star icon - Fisher Dore Lawyers

The only law firm I trust!

Kimberley - Google Review
5 star icon - Fisher Dore Lawyers

Friendly and professional. Highly recommend the team. Approachable and non-judgemental with a passion and extensive knowledge of what they do.

Rachael - Google Review
5 star icon - Fisher Dore Lawyers

This firm was so easy to talk to, compassionate, reliable and 100% hardworking. Thanks so much.

Mich - Google Review

We can't express how grateful we are for all your kindness, support and generosity during this difficult time. With sincere thanks.

Thank you Fisher Dore for all you have done to release the burden we have been living with...well done.

Just want to say thank you for all your help and effort you have put in. You go above and beyond. I appreciate everything you and your team have done for me in helping better my life!

Thanks again…for going above and beyond what I could have ever imagined. I am so grateful I can now get on the right track and move forward with my life.

Thank-you for all the hard work you have put into my case and your continued support throughout the last few months. I appreciate everything you have done for me.

Thank you for fighting for me and for doing such a great job. Please pass on my gratitude to the team.

Thank you for your compassion, dedication and hard work throughout this difficult time. This has been life changing for me and I can't imagine how I would have got through this without your support, professionalism and expertise. I'm so grateful for your efforts and the great work you did on my behalf. Thanks again for going above and beyond, and doing everything you could to win my case.

I just wanted to put into writing, just how profoundly grateful I am for the sound advice & skilful representation you provided. The outcome you secured for me was better than I could have dared to wish for. I owe you a debt of gratitude.

5 star icon - Fisher Dore Lawyers

I personally have known Mr Fisher for 20 years and in my opinion this firm is by far the best representation in Brisbane city and surrounding districts! My first pick always and best results from both Mr Fisher and Mr Dore and their team!! Thanks guys.

Mohammed - Google Review

I just wanted to say thank you very much for your handling of my case. I am very pleased with the outcome as well as your professionalism in communication and encouragement in my difficult time. Once again, thank you very much.

I want to thank you for looking after us both in a legal sense and in your sense of care. This has been enormously stressful. Having your diligent professionalism was greatly reassuring.

You will always be known to me and my family as the person who gave us the biggest gift we could ever want. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Thank you so much for your amazing work. You have made a compelling argument for me and I believe my application was successful only because of your excellent work. You have always been very professional, punctual and provided me with accurate advice at all times. I am extremely grateful that I had you as my lawyer.

5 star icon - Fisher Dore Lawyers

Strongly recommend if you would like the best chance at freedom.

Alex - Google Review
5 star icon - Fisher Dore Lawyers

Thank you to the wonderful and professional team at Fisher Dore Lawyers. The experience you brought to the table was nothing but excellent, achieving an amazing result.

Andrew - Google Review
5 star icon - Fisher Dore Lawyers

When you want the best this is the number you call. They do it right the first time. Thanks Nick.

Dale - Google Review

We cannot thank you enough for the amazing outcome; it was so much better than we could have hoped for. Having a highly skilled professional such as yourself was so beneficial, thank you again.

5 star icon - Fisher Dore Lawyers

Professional but caring! Very informative and assisted in navigating me calmly through a very stressful situation. Very experienced. Highly recommend.

Close popup tab