Residents interested in the plight of refugees and asylum seekers in South Australia are invited to attend the first meeting of the year of the Victor Harbor Refugee Support Group on Sunday 20 February.
Held at the Christian Gospel Center in Victor Harbor beginning at 2 p.m., the meeting will include a presentation by guest speaker Libby Hogarth.
Libby is Director and Principal of Australian Migration Options, based in Salisbury.
Australian Migration Options is a highly regarded and experienced Australian migration company.
It provides ethical and professional advice, training, advocacy and assistance in the areas of migration and refugee law.
Libby is an experienced migration officer who also helps with community support for asylum seekers and refugees, and she is very familiar with the SA situation.
Libby and her husband Jonathan returned from their work in Tanzania in 1984 and were looking for ways to continue working cross-culturally.
They linked up with the Australian Refugee Association (ARA) settlement scheme, and then in 1991 Libby was offered a part-time job helping asylum seekers.
For five years Libby worked as a migration officer with the ARA and as a social worker for asylum seekers with the Australian Red Cross.
In 1996, Libby opened her own commercial migration agent company with her daughter Ruth, working as a receptionist while continuing to manage the Refugee Association program until 2003.
From 2000 to 2005, Libby and Ruth did contract work in detention centers with one of the legal contractors.
In 2005 Libby’s youngest daughter joined the business and they changed the name of the business to Australian Migration Options (AMO).
In 2009, AMO was successful in being selected as the IAAAS provider for asylum seekers in the community and in detention centers and the staff grew to 32 migration officers and approximately eight administrative staff.
After funding stopped in 2012, the company had to quickly downsize, although it still had huge amounts of unfinished work, as immigration was processing almost nothing.
After three to four painful and difficult years, they found themselves in Salisbury without an office – three migration officers (mum and two daughters) and three administrative staff.
AMO specializes in the work of asylum seekers and refugees, family visa applications, appeals, adverse information and certain cancellations.
The firm is used to handling complex family matters and is proud of its success rate – around 92% in 2021.
Libby is also an active advocate and has submitted submissions to Senate inquiries, the Immigration Department and politicians, and was appointed to the Migration Officers Advisory Board in 2021.
Current AMO advocacy has been for:
- A group of top Afghan judges and their families need urgent protection
- An increase in the humanitarian contribution
- Permanent visas for TPV/SHEV customers and possibility to sponsor their families
- Urgent processing and finalization of Afghan family visa cases which have faced constant obstacles over the past 8-9 years