Go to content

Policy Bulletin 2018 / 7 (Civil Law Policy – Migration matters)

17 Sep 2018

On 4 September 2018, the Legal Aid NSW Board approved an amendment to the Civil Law Policy relating to migration matters.


Since 1996, free legal advice and representation for migration matters has been specifically funded by the Commonwealth Government through the Immigration Assistance, Advice and Advocacy Service (IAAAS) contract, which was administered by the Department of Immigration (now part of the Department of Home Affairs) (the Department). Legal Aid NSW has been delivering these services since 1996 and eligibility for those services has been published as part of the Legal Aid NSW eligibility policies. 

In March this year, the Department announced that the IAAAS in its current form will end on 30 June 2018. 

As migration matters are one of the key priority matters under the National Partnership Agreement, it is important that we are able to continue to provide the whole range of services that should be available under migration matters. To ensure Legal Aid NSW can continue to do migration matters, particularly matters that impact on highly vulnerable clients, the Board approved amending the migration policy making legal aid available for those matters that have been traditionally covered under the IAAAS. These matters will only be conducted on an in-house basis (in line with the previous IAAAS arrangements). Where the in-house practice does not have capacity, clients will be referred to organisations that are providing services under the new IAAAS arrangements.

What has changed?

Legal aid is available for an onshore protection visa application and a partner visa application where the applicant is eligible for an exemption under the family violence, child of the relationship or death of a sponsor exemption provisions.

See Policy Online 6.18.5 for details of the policy.

Commencement date

The change applies to applications for legal aid determined on or after 17 September 2018.

Contact for further information

Please contact the Client Eligibility Unit for any questions about the change on anna.coffey@legalaid.nsw.gov.au or 9213 5209.