Parish Patience Immigration Lawyers


  Late David Bitel  

David Bitel (1 March 1952 - 20 August 2016)

It is with great sadness that Parish Patience Immigration Lawyers announces the passing of its principal, David Bitel. David died in his sleep on 20 August 2016 at Greenwich Hospital.

David recently celebrated his 40 th Anniversary as a Solicitor, having first been admitted on 16 July 1976. He practised all his professional life with Parish Patience. In this sense, David continued the great tradition of the firm. From its beginning in 1888, founding partner Walter Parish was a lawyer here for over 50 years. John Patience came to the firm in 1937 and remained practising law for decades, including when he became Chairman of Radio 2GB. Another long-term principal was Neil McIntyre, and the firm was named Parish Patience & McIntyre up to the late 1960’s.

Practising extensively in both general and immigration law, David was a member of the Migration Institute of Australia. He was first lawyer recognised by the Law Society of  New South Wales as an Honorary Accredited Specialist in Immigration Law and was a consultant author of the loose leaf legal text “Australian Immigration Law”. David also provided legal advice to many community groups, notably from the Filipino, Bangladesh, Indonesian and Nepalese communities in Australia.

From this experience particularly in Immigration and Human Rights’ Law, David was appointed as a member of various committees of the Law Society of New South wales, (including as Chair of its Specialist Accreditation Committee, and its Human Rights Committee), of the Law Council of Australia and of the International Bar Association and a member of the Executive of the IBA. From 2002 to 2004 he was Senior Vice Chair of IBA Committee 14. David was also a member of the Immigration Lawyers Association of Australia and was one of the Convenors of their 2011 Annual Conference in Sydney.

More recently, David Bitel was named in the 2014 edition of the Best Lawyers in Australia, a tribute to him and to his long-time professional dedication.

Similar to his commitment to legal matters, David Bitel also undertook significant community and human rights’ work throughout his life. He served as the long term Secretary General of the Australian Section of the International Commission of Jurists, assisting with Rule of Law matters in Australia and internationally. Frequently David attended Government/NGO Consultations Forums, and substantially advocated for changes in domestic and international law, including through the Australian Forum of Human Rights Organisations (AFHRO)

For David’s work with refugees, in 2002 he was awarded Austcare’s prestigious Paul Cullen Humanitarian Award. David had also helped to found the Immigration Advice and rights Centre (IARC) in 1982, and served as its Chairman. He similarly helped to found the Gay and Lesbian Immigration Task Force (GLITF), which has continued since 1983 to advocate for equality for same sex couples under Immigration Law.

From 1989 to 2009 David was a part time Judicial Member of the NSW Administrative Decisions Tribunal in its Equal Opportunity Division (and its predecessor). He served on the Executive of the New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies from 1999 to 2008, acting as Chair of its Social Justice Committee in this period. A member of the Labor Party of Australia since 1967, David was elected as Paddington Ward Alderman to Woollahra Municipal Council from 1978 to 1983 and, in the 1980s, he served on the NSW ALP Branch, Immigration Policy Committee.

David also held deep interest in prison reform and social justice issues affecting mental health patients. From 2010 to 2012 he served as President of the Community Justice Coalition in New South Wales.

Parish Patience as a firm benefited considerably from David’s expertise and care, including developments in Administrative and Immigration Law. Over decades of his work in community and legal matters, he did not lessen his workload or efforts to ensure changes in the law for the better.

When confronted with the news three years ago that he had been diagnosed with Cancer, he reacted with his customary determination and optimism.

Over the last six months or so David’s health steadily declined however his commitment to clients and humanitarian causes never wavered. He explained more than once that he didn’t want sympathy as he had a full life and had been fortunate to enjoy opportunities not available to everyone.

Such was his devotion to immigration work he continued to see clients and help and advise them for as long as it was possible to do so. David’s legacy is with many thousands of people he has helped to lead happy and fulfilling lives in Australia.

For more information please contact Office Managers Blair Commin on 92868700

(With thanks to Kate Matthews for her Assistance) 


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Immigration Specialist: Michael Jones

Michael Jones, Legal Practice Manager

Accredited Specialist in Migration Law

Michael Jones is an Accredited Specialist in Australian Immigration Law and admitted to practise in all Federal and New South Wales courts. He teaches in the Graduate Certificate in Australian Immigration Law and Practice course at the Australian National University and is an editor of the Citizenship and Migration Law title of Halsbury's Laws of Australia published by LexisNexis.  

His role as Special Counsel with Parish Patience Bitel Immigration Lawyers includes responsibility for advising on immigration and citizenship law issues and supervising litigation in the Federal Circuit Court, Federal Court and High Court.  

He is an accredited professional translator from Italian, French, Portuguese and Spanish.

Registered Migration Agent Number: 9255530

Contact: Michael Jones -


Refugee and Asylum Seeker Visa specialist: Mahalingam Sutharshan (Shan)


Mahalingam Sutharshan (Shan), Director

Senior Migration Agent

Mahalingam Sutharshan (Shan) is qualified in law from Sri Lanka in 2000. He holds a LL.B degree from University of Colombo and obtained his Masters of Laws (LL.M) from Monash University, Melbourne in 2003. Shan completed another Masters of Laws degree specializing in International Humanitarian Law and Environmental Law under the AusAid Leadership Scholarship at the Australian National University in 2008. In 2009, he completed the Graduate Certificate in Migration Law and Practice. 

In Sri Lanka, Shan worked as a researcher at the National Human Rights Commission and as a Lecturer at the Department of Law, University of Jaffna. He also worked as a Project officer with Pathfinder Foundation, Colombo, Sri Lanka.  
Shan joined Parish Patience Bitel Immigration Lawyers in December 2010 and at present specializes in handling protection visa applications, Administrative Appeals Tribunal, Ministerial appeals.

Shan has a particular interest in refugee law and asylum seekers and Human Rights Law. 

Shan speaks fluent English and Tamil.

Member of Migration Institute of Australia. Migration Agents Registration number: 0961664

Contact: Mahalingam Sutharshan (Shan) -


    Family and Other Family Visa specialist: Thong Nguyen    

Thong Nguyen, Director

Senior Migration Agent

Thong Nguyen joined Parish Patience Immigration Lawyers in 2002 after graduating from his Master Degree (M.Ed.) course at the University of Technology, Sydney. He has now been working with the firm for 14 years in the role of a Senior Registered Migration Agent.  Since Parish Patience Immigration Lawyers was incorporated in August 2016, Thong has been appointed as one of the Directors.

He had extensive work experience with an international organization in Vietnam before coming to Australia. Thong is fluent in both English and Vietnamese, and he is a NAATI accredited Vietnamese translator. 

Thong specializes in dealing with Skilled and Business Migration, Partner and Spouse, Parents, Student, Visitor, Resident Return Visa, and other family stream visa applications. He also handles skills assessment applications with the various assessing bodies in Australia. He also prepares and lodges appeals after assessing and advising grounds for appeal, prepares submissions and attends hearings at the Administrative Appeal Tribunal (AAT). Thong’s expertise also includes lodgement of Ministerial Appeals. 

Thong has had experience in working with clients from many different nationalities and backgrounds. He is the primary contact for Vietnamese clients seeking assistance from our law firm. He has participated in and led the firm’s migration seminars in Vietnam and Malaysia which specifically focuses on Skilled Migration, Business Migration and Student Visa. Thong has provided extensive training on all aspects of migration both internally and in Vietnam. 

He is also a member of the Migration Institute of Australia. 

Migration Agents Registration Number: 0322836

Contact: Thong Nguyen -


Business and Skilled migration visa specialist: Alasdair Dougall

Alasdair Dougall

Senior Associate, Solicitor and Registered Migration Agent

Alasdair is a Solicitor in the Supreme Court of New South Wales, High Court of Australia and is also a Registered Migration Agent (MARN 1684660).

Alasdair completed a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Wollongong, as well as a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the College of Law.

Alasdair joined Parish Patience in 2017, having previously assisted in establishing a successful migration practice at another firm. Prior to this, Alasdair has obtained extensive migration experience as a Paralegal in specialist immigration firms; as well as a Community Legal Centre.

Alasdair is able to assist with a wide range of matters; including employer sponsored migration, partner visas, independent skilled applications, business, investor, and cancellation matters. Alasdair specialises in assisting Clients who have been accused of providing false/misleading information, as well as bogus documents, when making a visa application to the Department of Home Affairs; otherwise known as PIC 4020. Alasdair has extensive experience with such matters, and has assisted many Clients defend such allegations and avoid the lengthy exclusion periods that apply in such matter. 

Alasdair strives to provide his Clients with the highest standard of service at all times, working closely with Clients to achieve their specific objectives.

Solicitor of the Supreme Court of New South Wales

Registered Migration Agent 1684660

Contact: Alasdair Dougall -

Prasad Pahalawela

Solicitor and Registered Migration Agent

Prasad is an admitted solicitor in New South Wales and a Registered Migration Agent; he is experienced in vast areas of the law. Prasad worked as a Principal Solicitor and has been working as an Immigration Lawyer in New South Wales since 2011.

In Sri Lanka, Prasad has had over 20 years of experience, working for the Attorney-Generals Department as a State Counsel and in the private bar.

Prasad speaks fluent English and Sinhalese

Migration Agents Registration Number: 1280846

Contact: Prasad Pahalawela -

Migration Agent: Aneri Metha

Aneri Mehta

Registered Migration Agent

Aneri Mehta is a registered Lawyer with Bar Council of India and a Registered Migration Agent in Australia.

Aneri graduated from Gujarat National Law University with a Bachelor’s degree in Law and Commerce and is registered with Bar council of India. Aneri completed Graduate Certificate in Australian Migration Law and Practice from the Victoria University.

Before migrating to Australia, Aneri worked as a Lawyer in India for corporate and non-corporate clients. After moving to Australia, she has been working with Parish Patience Immigration lawyers since September, 2015.

She has extensive work experience in Australian Immigration law and brings to the firm a wealth of knowledge and experience in visa eligibility and application requirements. Aneri has vast experience and exposure in Citizenship, Student, Skilled migration, Employer and state sponsored migration, Partner and spouse, Parent, Visitor, Resident Return and other family stream visa applications. She has keen interest in refugee law and asylum seekers and is also helping clients with Protection visas. She has had experience working with clients from different nationalities and backgrounds. Aneri speaks fluent English, Hindi and Gujarati.

Registered Migration Agent No. 1801710

Contact: Aneri Mehta -

Skilled and Student visa agent: Ali Charif

Ali Charif

Registered Migration Agent

Ali Charif is a Registered Migration Agent

Ali Charif came to Australia from Lebanon on a student visa to study Bachelor of Business Administration at Central Queensland University. He initially developed interests in the Australian Migration Law when he successfully handled his own Immigration affairs by himself. Since then, he developed a passion for resolving complex Immigration issues.

Ali joined Parish Patience Immigration Lawyers in June 2014 and was working as a Personal Assistant for the late Mr. David Bitel. Working closely with David, he gained a valuable experience and his interest in the Australian Migration Law grew and became very keen to learn about the laws and Regulations of the Australian Immigration system.  

He completed the Graduate Certificate in Australian Migration Law and Practice at Victoria University and graduated with Distinction.  

Ali can advise clients in regards to student visa, General Skilled Migration Visas, Employer Sponsored Visas as well as Partner Visas. He has an extensive knowledge in regards to skills assessments and can advise clients about requirements. He handles skills assessments with various assessing authorities. He is capable of representing clients at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) in regards to Visas Refusals and Cancellations and to prepare submissions and present arguments. 

Ali exceeds clients’ expectations by being an excellent listener, highly attentive for details and always excels in providing the best possible service to his clients.

Ali interacts with clients from different backgrounds and can communicate fluently in English and Arabic.     

Registered Migration Agent No. 1803234

Contact: Ali -

Ashwina Krishnan


Ashwina is a solicitor admitted to the Supreme Court of New South Wales and a Registered Migration Agent.

Ashwina completed a Bachelor of Law and a Bachelor of International Studies at the University of Adelaide and a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice at Australian National University.

Prior to joining Parish Patience in 2019, Ashwina worked as a solicitor and a paralegal at various law firms in New South Wales, South Australia and the Northern Territory wherein she attained experience in various areas of the law including Migration, Criminal, Family and Civil Litigation. Ashwina has also gained experience working at NGOs based in Malaysia where she developed a passion for human rights and humanitarian issues.

Ashwina has a strong interest in Human Rights Law, Refugee Law, Criminal Law and Family Law. She speaks English, Tamil and Malay fluently.

Solicitor of the Supreme Court of New South Wales

Registered Migration Agent No. 1913008

Contact: Ashwina -