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Meet The Team
AHWC Immigration Law comprises a team of exceptional immigration lawyers &  registered migration agents who all share the same passion and focus –  helping people like you to migrate to Australia.

 

Engage us and you’ll find a bunch of lovely people who have an exceptional knowledge about Australian immigration law and who are passionate about achieving positive immigration outcomes for you.

 

 

 

Seamus Taaffe
Seamus Taaffe
Founder and Principal FCA Registered Migration Agent Chartered Accountant
Registered Migration Agent MARN 0901684

“I cannot recommend AHWC highly enough. This is our second time to use them and both Seamus and Xiaodan have been exceptional. They really know their stuff and offer a very thorough and professional service. Thank you AHWC for securing our 188 Visa. Much appreciated.”  – Yvonne K

Seamus is a Chartered Accountant and a Registered Migration Agent.

Seamus grew up in Coolaney in the west of Ireland where he qualified as a Chartered Accountant. He moved to South Africa in 1980 and lived there until 1987 .

Seamus moved to Australia in 1987 and became a citizen in 1992.

Seamus founded AHWC Immigration Law (originally known as Australia Here We Come) in 2010. Australia Here We Come changed its name to AHWC Immigration Law in November 2017.

Seamus has expertise across all visa types. He is particularly good at assessing complex situations and finding unique solutions that work. In really complex situations he will often find a solution that no one else has thought of.

You can talk to Seamus about onshore and offshore Australian Partner Visas, Prospective Marriage Visas and subclass 461 New Zealand Citizen Family Relationship Visas.

He also provides strategic advice in relation to employer-sponsored visas, including Subclass 457 Temporary Work Visas, Subclass 186  Employer Nominated (ENS) visas,  Temporary Skills Shortage, Subclass 482 (TSS) visas, as well as Business Visas and Parent Visas.

Seamus is passionate about AFL and is a Melbourne Demons tragic, ever hopeful they will one day win a Grand Final!

Maggie Taaffe
Maggie Taaffe
Principal Lawyer BA, LLB (Hons)

“Having Maggie’s support and advice throughout our application process for my wife’s visa has been amazing!! She has always given me time and advice whenever I’ve had questions or concerns. I have recommended AHWC Immigration to friends in the past and will continue to do so in the future. Visa’s are an emotional and difficult process to go through, and knowing Maggie was there to support us has made the world of difference.”  – Sam T

Maggie is our principal lawyer and was born in the United Kingdom and lived briefly in India as a child before immigrating with her family to South Africa. Maggie migrated to Australia in 1987 and became a citizen in 1992.

Maggie always wanted to study law, and finally completed a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) (Hons) in 2002 at Deakin University.She still can’t believe she won the Supreme Court Exhibition Prize for the best honours thesis in her final year. She was admitted as a solicitor in 2004 and signed the Bar Roll in 2008.

Before joining AHWC Immigration Law, Maggie held a number of senior legal positions including senior associate at a prominent Melbourne legal firm as well as practicing as a barrister at the Victorian Bar as a member of Dever’s List.

As our principal lawyer, Maggie handles a range of immigration law services including;

  • Reviews of adverse decisions, (AAT and Federal Circuit Court)
  • Citizenship refusal appeals
  • Requests for ministerial intervention
  • Character submissions
  • Applications for health waivers
  • Assisting employers with DIBP monitoring and compliance issues

Maggie is our go to person for all complex legal matters and her success rate with reviews of adverse decisions, including AAT appeals, is enviable.

Alice O’Brien
Alice O’Brien
General Manager Melbourne BSocSc (Hons)
Registered Migration Agent MARN 1576543

“Absolutely outstanding service, I highly recommend it. I booked an online consultation and Alice was great and gave me prompt clear and thorough replies. She is also very kind and patient, which is not to be taken for granted in this field. You won’t be disappointed!”  – Francesca C

Alice was born in Dublin and has completed a Bachelor of Social Science at University College Dublin (UCD), graduating with honours in 2007. In 2010, she completed the entrance exams for the Law Society of Ireland.

Alice completed a Graduate Certificate in Australian Migration Law and practice in 2014 and became a registered migration agent in 2015.

Alice has travelled extensively and worked in the USA before she moved to Australia in 2012 when she joined AHWC Immigration Law.

Alice is the general manager of our Melbourne office and has expertise across all visa types, including Employer Nominated visas, Partner visas, SkillSelect visas, Parent visas and Visitor visas.

Michelle O’Donnell
Michelle O’Donnell
Manager Sydney BA (Hons)
Registered Migration Agent MARN 1385293

“A massive THANK YOU to Michelle who was extremely professional, realistic and empathetic. My partner and I approached AHWC as we were so confused on what our options were with him being on a Bridging Visa, awaiting information on a De Facto visa. Michelle explained everything to us and made everything so much clearer. She kept in constant contact and answered all our concerns with thorough knowledge and understanding. Once everything was submitted to immigration, my partner was granted not only his De Facto temporary visa but also his De Facto permanent visa within such a short amount of time. We cannot thank Michelle enough, I would highly recommend her to anyone who is confused about visa options. Thank you!”  – Joanna P

Michelle was born in Waterford in Ireland and obtained a BA (Hons) from the Waterford Institute of Technology in 2006. She also successfully completed the entrance exams to the Law Society of Ireland in 2008.

Michelle completed a Graduate Certificate in Australian Migration Law and practice in 2012 and became a registered migration agent in 2013.

Michelle worked for the Melbourne office of AHWC Immigration Law from April 2011 to December 2015 and was promoted to general manager of the Melbourne office.

Michelle re-joined AHWC Immigration Law in August 2017 to take on the task of running our Sydney office and relocated to beautiful Sydney.

Michelle’s expertise extend across all visa types. She has extensive experience in Employer Nominated subclass TSS visas, subclass 186 ENS visas and RSMS subclass 187 visas, as well as Australian partner visas, subclass 820 and subclass 309, prospective marriage subclass 300, subclass 461 New Zealand citizen family relationship visas and parent visas.

Michelle has lived in both Sydney and Melbourne, and her all-time favourite question is which place do you prefer?  Since both have so much different to offer, she is still working on the answer…. watch this space!

Xiaodan (Amy) Wan
Xiaodan (Amy) Wan
Senior Migration Consultant BA
Registered Migration Agent MARN 1573740

“Thanks to Xiaodan and AHWC for their help in securing a Partner 820 subclass visa! We had no idea what we were doing when we first looked at the immigration website, the process seemed very overwhelming. But one consultation later we felt much better about the process and our chances of securing a visa. Xiaodan did a great job guiding us through everything and we can strongly recommend the services of AHWC for anyone looking for expert help with their application.”  – Chris S

Xiaodan was born in Beijing and immigrated to Australia in 2014.

Xiaodan completed a Graduate Certificate in Australian Migration Law and practice in 2015 and became a registered migration agent in 2015.

Xiaodan has over 15 years’ experience working in the Australian migration industry in both China and Australia.

She has knowledge and expertise across all visa types including Employer Nominated visas, SkillSelect visas, partner visas and parent visas and excels in business visas including the subclass 188 and the subclass 888 visas.

Xiaodan has successfully assisted many Chinese families to migrate to Australia, a step she took herself with her own family in 2014. She now lives in Melbourne.

Xiaodan is fluent in English and Mandarin (and Shanghai Dialect).

Patrick Douglas
Patrick Douglas
Lawyer LLB (Hons) LLM GDLP

” Patrick Douglas, let me thank you for having been so professional, diligent and thorough in all your dealings with us. Communication was flawless, very positive, focused and a real pleasure to conduct business with. You laid everything out clearly and went through the process step by step making sure the application went straight through. You were great, would recommend you and the AHWC team highly. I sincerely think that other businesses should model themselves on your behaviour….well done!…You are a huge asset to AHWC.” – Constantino P

Patrick grew up in Northern Ireland and graduated from Queens University Belfast with an honours degree in law in 2014.

He then completed a Masters of Law in International Trade and Commercial Law at Durham University in the United Kingdom.

Patrick moved to Australia in early 2016 and joined AHWC Immigration Law soon thereafter.

After arriving in Australia Patrick studied to have his overseas legal qualifications recognised in Australia and completed his Practical Legal Training so that he could be admitted as a legal practitioner in Australia.

In November 2018 Patrick realised his dream and was admitted in the Supreme Court of Victoria and now practices as a lawyer in Australia.

Patrick currently assists with partner visas, employer sponsored temporary and permanent visas, skilled independent visas and Federal Circuit Court appeals.

Crishelle Lopez
Crishelle Lopez
Lawyer & Registered Migration Agent LLB

“We are over the moon to have been granted our Subclass 309. AHWC were amazing throughout the process. Crishelle was our main point of contact and just couldn’t have been more helpful. She was so quick to respond and always able to help. I would recommend them to anyone. From initial consultation to visa grant in not far off two months. Thanks again for a great service.”- Jordan A

Crishelle was born in Melbourne, Australia and her passion for immigration law originates from her own Filipino family background. She is an experienced Lawyer and Registered Migration Agent, having previously worked at a prominent Australian immigration law firm and a leading international professional services firm. She completed her Bachelor of Laws at La Trobe University in 2016 and her Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice at the College of Law in 2017. She was admitted to the Supreme Court of Victoria and the High Court of Australia as a practising Lawyer in June 2019. She is currently undertaking a Masters of Law at the University of Melbourne.

She has expertise in managing all types of visa and citizenship matters, including (but not limited to) partner visas, student visas, skilled migration visas and visas within the employer sponsored migration streams. She has acted on behalf of individuals, multinational corporations as well as small businesses. Crishelle has worked on complex matters before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, the Immigration Assessment Authority and the Federal Circuit Court.

Crishelle strives to achieve the best possible outcome for her clients and ensures that they are informed about their legal rights throughout their migration process.

Crishelle is happiest when spending time outdoors, either going for hikes or ocean swimming. She loves travelling and hopes to reach 30 countries before she turns 30, whilst eating her way through all the different cuisines.

Mancy Zhao
Mancy Zhao
Registered Migration Agent
Registered Migration Agent MARN 1796787

Wenqian ZHAO (Mancy) was born and raised in China. She completed a master of professional accounting in 2014 and then accomplished a Graduate Certificate in Australian Migration Law and practice in 2016 and became a registered migration agent in 2017.

Mancy has over 5 years’ experience working in the Australian education and migration industry, with the knowledge and expertise across various visa types including general skill visas, employer sponsor visas, partner visas and parent visas and student and guardian visa.

Mancy is fluent in English and Mandarin and she enjoys the work as a migration agent.

Keefe Chan
Keefe Chan
Lawyer

Keefe was born in Malaysia and completed a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) at Monash University in 2016. He completed a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice in 2017 and was admitted as a solicitor in the Supreme Court of Victoria soon after. Since then, he has been specialising in the area of immigration law and has successfully represented clients in numerous visa applications, AAT appeals and other complex matters.

Keefe can also converse in Mandarin, Malay, Cantonese and Hokkien.

In his free time, Keefe plays computer games and eats croissants (usually not at the same time).

Charisse Ongoco
Charisse Ongoco
Lawyer

Charisse was born in the Philippines and immigrated with her parents and sister to Australia when she was just 4 years old.  She completed a Bachelor of Arts (with a Spanish major) and Bachelor of Laws at Monash University, and was admitted in the Supreme Court of Victoria as a solicitor in 2017.

Before joining AHWC to practice immigration law, Charisse worked as a property lawyer and then as an indirect tax lawyer. She has also had legal volunteering experience at Justice Connect and the Human Rights Law Centre, as well as Springvale Monash Legal Service (SMLS).

Charisse is happiest when she’s surrounded by food, especially food with melted cheese all over it. In her spare time, she daydreams of being back travelling around New Zealand.

Maddie Benz
Maddie Benz
Lawyer

Maddie was born in Australia and completed a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Criminology at La Trobe University in 2020. Maddie has completed her coursework for Practical Legal Training at Leo Cussen Centre for Law and is in the process of being admitted as a solicitor in the Supreme Court of Victoria.

Before joining AHWC Immigration Law, Maddie volunteered at Heidelberg and Whittlesea Community Legal Centres, where she was passionate about making the law accessible to all members of the community. She has also interned for Victoria Legal Aid at the Heidelberg Magistrates’ Court and researched for the House of Lords in Westminster Parliament (UK).

Maddie enjoys good coffee and everything Victoria has to offer.

Clarisa Alphanso
Clarisa Alphanso
Paralegal

Clarisa was born in India and immigrated with her parents and brother to Australia when she was just 7 years old. She has completed a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts (with a criminology major) at Swinburne University of Technology in 2020. Clarisa has completed her coursework for Practical Legal Training at the College of Law and is in the process of being admitted as a solicitor in the Supreme Court of Victoria.

Before joining AHWC Immigration Law, Clarisa volunteered as a Paralegal at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, where she assisted migration agents with Protection Visa Applications and Refusal Appeals. She was also a Legal Intern at Victoria Legal Aid, where she assisted duty lawyers at the Ringwood Magistrates’ Court.

In her free time, Clarisa loves going to different brunch places and daydreaming about travelling to Japan again.

Charles (Yu) Wang
Charles (Yu) Wang
Paralegal

Charles was born in China and immigrated with his parents to Australia when he was 14 years old. He is at his final year of Juris Doctor degree at Monash University. Before plunging into law, Charles studied science, have completed his Bachelor of Science (with a Genetics major) and Master of Science (with a Bioscience major) at the University of Melbourne.

Before joining AHWC Immigration Law, Charles volunteered as a Paralegal at Environmental Justice Australia where he worked on environmental and planning law matters. He also previously worked in property law for a leading commercial law firm and Fitzroy Legal Service where he assisted clients from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Charles is fluent in English and Mandarin (and Shanghai Dialect).

In his spare time, he enjoys cooking and gardening. He also goes bird watching around Melbourne.

Carlota Jimenez
Carlota Jimenez
Paralegal

Carlota was born in the south of Spain and immigrated to Australia with her family at the age of 15. She has just completed a combined Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts (International Business major) degree at Macquarie University. Carlota will be completing her coursework and work experience for Practical Legal Training to be admitted as a solicitor next year.

Carlota has previous volunteer legal experience with the National Justice Project assisting the solicitors with a broad range of social justice matters across Australia. Before joining AHWC Immigration Law, she was a legal intern for an Edu-Tech start-up company.

Carlota loves the sunshine and enjoys going to the park for walks.

Rachelle Maitre
Rachelle Maitre
Administration Manager

Rachelle is first generation Australian, from Mauritian decent, born and raised in Sydney and moved to Melbourne at the age of 20.

She comes to us with administration and management experience from different sectors, gained from her years working in coordinating events through to corporate administration for a legal documentation company. Her strength is definitely in organisation and implementing process and procedures for efficiency.

Rachelle is comfortable conversing in French and Creole.

Rachelle also has a passion for anything sports, health and fitness related… Sunday mornings are for beach walks and Pilates! In 2018 she completed her Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science and in her spare time volunteers for a local AFL club. Although if you don’t find her in the gym, she’s eating her way through Melbourne’s fancy restaurants and wineries or baking Teresa Cutter recipes.