Founded in Adelaide in 2011 by immigration lawyer Chris Johnston, Work Visa Lawyers has become one of the largest migration firms in Australia. Now with 12 staff – including eight immigration lawyers and Registered Migration Agents – the team members come from across the world and have assisted many individuals, families and corporate clients in a variety of Australian migration matters.
“When I started the business, I had noticed that there was a need for more targeted advice and services for employer-sponsored visas,” explains Chris. “These visas involve understanding the business, the types of positions put forward and the applicant attributes. So, we started off by focussing on delivering work visas really well.”
Since then, the company has expanded immigration services to include skilled visas, employer sponsorship, business and investment visas, and Administrative Appeal Tribunals, as well as retaining their expertise in work visas.
Chris says the field of immigration law comes with challenges, including frequent changes to visa requirements and processing times, as well as finding qualified and professional staff.
“We aim to stay up to date on changes by being members of and contributing to key professional associations, including the Migration Institute of Australia (MIA) and the Law Society of South Australia,” he says. “We’re proactive in keeping our clients informed and ensuring that we adapt our services to the best visa options available. We also participate in the Law Society’s GDLP program to work with law graduates, which helps us strategically strengthen our team.”
One way that they keep clients up to date is through their highly popular and informative YouTube channel, which now boasts over 30,000 subscribers and some videos with over 100,000 views.
Building a great business
Chris says, “We firmly believe that a business focused on clients is a great business. Especially in the legal industry, a customer’s decision is based on the firm’s reputation and how well trusted they are. We measure our success by the number of testimonials we get, the customer satisfaction rate, and how customers respond to our services.”
He explains that listening to the needs of each client and providing appropriate services in a timely manner is a key to their success, as is building the right team and adapting to changes.
“Our choice to focus on migration law as an exclusive practice area provides a consistency that has helped us to become a leading immigration firm over the last ten years,” Chris says.
Accru Harris Orchard’s role and involvement
Work Visa Lawyers has been a client of Accru Harris Orchard since 2016. Director Rhys Bithell and his team has helped the company upgrade systems as they’ve expanded, as well as establish new entities in a structure that compliments future plans whilst being tax effective.
“Work Visa Lawyers has shown outstanding growth,” says Rhys. “They have a strong reputation in the industry and they’re willing to invest in areas such as online marketing and new business models to help drive that growth.”
“We’ve really appreciated the exceptional advice and support provided by Rhys Bithell and his team,” says Chris. “As our business has grown, our accounting needs have changed, and Accru Harris Orchard’s services have been an integral to our success. Rhys has taken the time to review our financials and provide us with insights and recommendations that have made our systems more efficient, giving us better data as we plan for future needs.”
Also, thanks to the support of Accru Harris Orchard, Chris has started a second separate business called Australia Study Team, which aims to provide quality advice in relation to international student enrolments and visas, assisting potential students in choosing courses suited to their vocational interests and providing a path to full time Australian work and permanent visas.
“Accru Harris Orchard connected us with a training provider that will be offering courses to international students in the areas of commercial cookery and hospitality,” says Chris. “The training provider will also have the possibility of offering work placements to international students, which will be of great value to them in moving from their studies to work.”
Future of the business
In the future, Chris says that Work Visa Lawyers will continue to focus on offering specialised immigration law services.
“There are opportunities to offer both national and international services directly from our office in Adelaide thanks to new technology,” he notes. “Our appointments can now be booked online and offered through Zoom to clients anywhere in the world.”
Want to learn more about how Accru Harris Orchard can help you build a great business? Contact our team today.