Marial Lewis on Immigration Law: Challenges, Triumphs, and the Road Ahead

In an exclusive Q&A session with Legalwise Seminars, Marial Lewis, Principal Lawyer and Founder of Crossover Law Group, addresses key questions regarding the recent updates and misconceptions on family visas. Hear more from Marial at the Visas Under the New Regime and Judicial Review conference taking place on Friday, 8th September. Click here to view the full program and register your attendance.


You’ve earned several prestigious awards and recognitions, such as your inclusion in Forbes’ ’30 Under 30′ list for social impact and being named on the Australasian Lawyer 2023 Most Influential Lawyers List as a ‘Young Influencer.’ How do you perceive the influence your work has had on the landscape of Immigration Law and, more importantly, on the well-being of your clients?”

I aspire to do my best in every matter and in my work with my clients whether they are an investor, a corporate or someone in detention awaiting deportation. Working diligently and hard and putting my clients’ best interest at the forefront of everything I do whether it is advice, innovation, representation, advocacy drives my passion for immigration law and my determination for innovation and change.

Your session for the upcoming webinar is titled ‘Family Visas: Recent Updates and Misconceptions.’ Can you give us a sneak peek into some of the key topics and updates you’ll be discussing during the webinar?

The session will cover current processing times, common misconceptions and mistakes when it comes to family visas, domestic violence provisions and practical tips to improve your clients’ applications.

Immigration law can be complex and often involves emotionally charged cases. How do you approach working with clients in such sensitive situations, and what advice do you have for aspiring immigration lawyers?

Working in immigration law, particularly with emotionally charged and complex cases, requires a compassionate and sensitive approach. It all begins with showing empathy, as many clients are navigating significant moments in their lives. One valuable tip is to put yourself in the client’s shoes and consider how they’d like to be treated during this process.Clear communication is essential; avoiding legal jargon ensures clients understand the proceedings. Honesty about what they can realistically expect and respect for their cultural backgrounds are key. Staying updated on the latest changes in immigration rules and maintaining thorough documentation are crucial.Ultimately, your goal is to be there for your clients, supporting them every step of the way in their immigration journey guiding them through their immigration journey, which can be particularly stressful when complications arise.

Could you share a memorable success story from your legal career, perhaps a challenging case you managed to resolve in favor of your client?

I’ve had the privilege of being part of numerous heartwarming success stories in my legal career, but some of the most unforgettable ones involve clients in detention, particularly parents who have endured years of separation from their loved ones. There’s a profound sense of fulfillment in making that life-changing phone call to inform them that they can finally pack their bags and reunite with their families. Hearing the stunned silence, followed by tears of joy and disbelief on the other end of the line, is a powerful reminder of the work I do, and it makes the hard work truly worth it.

In your opinion, what are some of the most pressing immigration law issues and challenges facing Australia today, and how do you envision the future of immigration law in the country?

It seems like we’re in a bit of a waiting game right now, eagerly anticipating some significant changes in our migration system and the formation of the new AAT (Administrative Appeals Tribunal). One of the major issues we’re grappling with is how to attract the right talent, responsible business owners, and investors to Australia without making the whole process feel overly complicated and rigorous, which unfortunately seems to be the case. Another pressing concern is the current review system, which, to put it bluntly, isn’t working as effectively as it should, especially when it comes to the lengthy wait times that applicants have to endure.

Marial Lewis is one of Australia’s top immigration lawyers. She is an accredited specialist in Immigration Law by the Law Society of NSW as well as the winner of the prestigious 2021 and 2022 Lawyers Weekly 30 under 30 and the 2020 John Gibson Award – Young Migration Lawyer of the year by the Law Council of Australia. In 2022, Marial was listed in the Forbes list under 30 for social impact and was recognized by her international peers in the Who’s who Legal- Corporate Immigration Future Leaders and in the Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch for 2023- Immigration Law. Marial has also been a finalist in various national awards including, innovative of the year (individual), rising star of the year for the Australasian Law Awards and Women in Law, regional/suburban lawyer of the year and 30 under 30 since 2019. Marial is also a lecturer and unit coordinator in the Graduate Diploma of Australian Migration Law and lectures administrative law at UNSW. After many years in private practice including being a partner in a specialist migration law firm, Marial founded Crossover Law Group, a Newlaw migration law firm focusing on servicing private and corporate clients migration law needs by delivering a fast, efficient and transparent excellent service whilst using innovation, technology and new ideas for better delivery. Crossover Law Group has been recognised as innovative law firm of the year finalist as well as Newlaw firm of the year finalist in various awards. Marial is a passionate lawyer who works with a wide range of clients assisting them with their immigration legal goals and is an international speaker on migration law matters. She is also very experienced with complicated migration law matters such as refusals, cancellations, detention, character cases, review matters at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal as well as being a litigator in migration court cases. Connect with Marial via LinkedIn