Parish Patience Immigration Lawyers



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 40th 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 or Adrian Bitel on 92868700

(With thanks to Kate Matthews for her Assistance) 


   Go Back


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 Legal Practice Manager 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 -



Mahalingam Sutharshan (Shan), Director

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 Australian and New Zealand Society of International Law.

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

Contact: Mahalingam Sutharshan (Shan) -


Thong Nguyen, Director

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 -




Ruwan Samarasinghe is a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, Attorney-at-Law in Sri Lanka and a Registered Migration Agent in Australia.

Before migrating to Australia, Ruwan worked as an Attorney-at-Law in Sri Lanka. He has been providing immigration assistance to clients as an Immigration Lawyer over 12 years.

He has successful track record working closely with both corporate and non-corporate clients. These include providing advice on eligibility and obtaining: temporary and permanent work visas through employer nomination; On-Hire Labour Agreements; temporary and permanent visas through General Skilled Migration; temporary and permanent visas through family migration; and citizenship. He also has extensive experience in Ministerial Intervention Requests, revocation of visa cancellation matters and migration review application.

His qualifications and professional membership includes: Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice; Bachelor of Laws; Master of Laws; Master of Laws (Hon); Admitted as an Attorney-at-Law of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka (1996); Admitted as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of NSW (2003); Registered Migration Agent with MARA (2004); NAATI accredited Sinhalese Translator (2002). He holds current membership of Bar Association of Sri Lanka, Law Society of NSW, Migration Institute of Australia and Member of Migration Alliance. 

Solicitor of the Supreme Court of New South Wales

Migration Agents Registration number: 0427978

Contact: Ruwan Samarasinghe –





Kazusa Higashioka

Solicitor, Registered Migration Agent, and Qualified Education Agent Counsellor

Kazusa Higashiola is a Solicitor, Registered Migration Agent and Qualified Education Agent Counsellor 

Kazusa is admitted to the Supreme Court of NSW and the High Court of Australia. She holds Bachelor of Laws with Honours from Macquarie University and a Graduate Certificate in Australian Migration Law and Practice from the Australian National University. She is a member of Golden Key International Honours Society for academic excellence.

Prior to joining Parish Patience Immigration Lawyers, Kazusa worked at a Sydney-based immigration law firm where she gained experience in employment-related immigration matters.

Kazusa is fluent in Japanese.  

Member of Migration Institute of Australia 

Registered Migration Agent No. 1576947

Qualified Education Agent Counsellor No. M085 




Alasdair Dougall

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. In addition to this, Alasdair has obtained significant experience with matters involving complex health considerations; developing a passion for assisting Clients in overcoming the barriers associated with chronic health complications.

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 at:


Mohammed Dawood Ali Hyder Ali Khan

Registered Migration Agent

Mohammed Dawood Ali Hyder Ali Khan is a Registered Migration Agent (MARN 0741639).

Before migrating to Australia, Mohammed worked as a student counselor and paralegal assistant in India, and United Arab Emirates. He has been providing immigration assistance to clients as a Migration Agent for 10 years.

After graduating from the University of Madras with a Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering, Mohammed completed a practical study in Australian immigration law practice and procedure from University of New South Wales and has been advising clients with regards to various policy and legal issues in all areas of immigration law, including skilled visas, partner visas, student visas, parent visas, child visas and business sponsored work visas.

Mohammed is fluent in Hindi, Tamil and Urdu and is able to communicate in these languages.

Registered Migration Agent 0741639

Contact Mohammed at: