Today twenty years ago, Migration Solutions opened for business for the very first time. Back then (when I was 20 years younger), I was a jack-of-all trades, being everything from our primary Migration Agent to answering the phone, lining up at the Department to lodge applications and doing the banking. I was also the business owner and manager. I started advising individuals and families on their visa pathways, gaining experience across different areas of legislation, before expanding our offering towards skilled visas and assisting businesses. Just like today, 20 years ago skill shortages and workforce demands were a major concern. You’d think the State and Federal Government would have got it right by now!
Within a few short years, our team of Migration Agents had expanded. Starting in the Central Market Plaza (then Market Street, followed by Angas Street and now overlooking Victoria Square) it wasn’t long until our team of Migration Agents had expanded, moving into to new offices in 2005. It was soon after that we employed our first receptionist (Coralie, who is now our Office Manager), who juggled the increasing number of calls from new and existing clients.
By 2007, we had acquired DGA Consultants, and we employed Nam our Operations Manager. The company was big enough to take a team approach and we developed specialist consulting teams in family, appeals, skilled, business, corporate and sports visas. Vanessa (our appeals and family expert) joined the team and I worked very hard to increase our profile in the business and professional community. In 2011, I was elected SA State President and National Board Member of the Migration Institute of Australia. Earlier in the same year, Susan joined our team.
During the next ten years, Sarah, Shashe, Kelly, Claudia, Trang, Lydia, Bianca, Tiana, Prue, Ashlee and many more joined our team and we continued to improve our operational efficiencies, specialist expertise and service delivery to our clients. Throughout 2019 and 2020, I was appointed to various Federal, State and Regional development boards and committees and I enjoyed advising on policy and lobbying for change on behalf of our profession and clients. These days, I hold more of a management position and am heavily involved in research, policy and developing strategic migration pathways supported by a truly fantastic group of people that I enjoy and have the privilege of working alongside every day.
Last year, when the pandemic hit, we introduced Facebook LIVE events, so we could still share our knowledge with our network and clients, answering questions about the changing visa environment and the impact of border restrictions. It has been an unsettling and, in some circumstances a very isolating time for many people. A special thanks to our team for putting themselves out there! We have developed a bit of humour, with the NO buzzer, magic eight ball and Christmas costumes, so do join us as we continue to run these each month. We really enjoy being able to interact with you all live.
We are extremely proud of our pro bono work and our ongoing relationship with the Cancer Council. Last year we raised over $50,000 (including about $10,000 from Migration Solutions) to provide food vouchers to people on temporary visas who did not get any Federal Government support or assistance (Job Keeper or Job Seeker).
Twenty years ago, Philip Ruddock was the Minister for Immigration until Amanda Vanstone was appointed in 2003, followed by Ministers, Andrews (2007), Evans (2007), Bowen (2010), O’Connor (2013), Burke (2013), Morrison (2013), Dutton (2014), Tudge (2017), Coleman (2018), Tudge (acting-2019) and now Alex Hawke (2020). Thirteen Ministers in 20 years, but 11 since 2007! It’s no wonder Australian immigration is such a mess.
Today and for many years, our visa success rate speaks for itself and we have become the largest, professional immigration consultancy in South Australia.
I look forward to forward to sharing these special moments with you and many more as we step into our next 20 years in business.
My thanks to our wonderful team, clients and business partners.