I sat down with Dr Hugo to talk about his journey of becoming an Australian and what motivated him on choosing Australia as a home.
Here’s what he had to say…
“I feel immensely proud to be a dual citizen, as a South African born Australian. I reckon these are two of the greatest countries on the planet, both with incredible beauty, opportunities and potential. Settling in Australia was not my design, but rather how are things turned out.
As I completed my thesis for my LLD degree at the University of Pretoria in 1999/ 2000, my wife and I decided to spend two years overseas, to gain some international work experience, as many young South Africans choose to do every year.
The vast majority of young South Africans who wish to live abroad for some time choose to go to the UK, given the access for a working holiday visa. My view has always been to be ‘a little bit different to the rest of the crowd’ and we therefore chose Australia as an alternative. Because there is no working holiday visa arrangement between South Africa and Australia, will be applied for skilled migration that allowed us permission to work in Australia.
We have been very fortunate to have been given opportunities that have ultimately resulted in us deciding to remain in Australia and raise our family in Sydney. As a South African trained lawyer I had to convert my qualifications to be accepted as a legal practitioner in Australia/ New South Wales. The first opportunity that I was given for employment in Australia was in an immigration consultancy firm, which I gladly accepted to make a start. I soon realised the fascinating nature for the legislation that constitutes Australian immigration law with its constant changes and politically driven policies. A year later I joined a leading immigration law firm we I was employed as an Associate/ Senior associate lawyer until I left when we incorporated Teleo immigration in 2006.
Immigration law is an incredibly rewarding and interesting area of practice, given that your client base consists of a very wide range of individuals from all walks of life and from different cultures. We, for example, represent refugees and vulnerable individuals on the one hand, but also represent large national and international corporations and also top-level business people from across the world.
Australia is a wonderful country as it is economically and politically strong and stable – it is a very safe place to raise a family. In my view, it is pretty much as good as it gets. If only the Wallabies could play rugby…”