We’re excited to announce that Oyuna Bordukh, a law student at Griffith University Law School is the winner of our Just Redemptive Outcomes® Award, an accolade set up in partnership with the University. The award was developed to encourage and motivate a student who has overcome hardships and obstacles, persevering to successfully complete the Graduate Certificate in Australian Migration Law and Practice.
About the award winner
I want a job where I can utilise all my skills as a lawyer and one that allows me contribute to a greater purpose
Oyuna is a Mongolian-born national who speaks English as her third language – after Mongolian and Russian. Having been raised in the countryside in Mongolia, she moved to western Russia to study at the Ivanovo State University (Ivanovo is a city 5 hours drive north-east of Moscow), returning to Mongolia a number of years later where she worked for over a decade as a law lecturer at the National University of Mongolia, as a corporate and commercial lawyer at one of Mongolia’s top law firms and an in-house counsel for two international mining companies in Mongolia.
When Oyuna moved to Australia in 2002, she was unable to practice law.
I love my profession, but unfortunately the legal profession does not provide much mobility and legal professionals are tied to a particular jurisdiction. Therefore, I have been unable to work as a lawyer in Australia [emphasis added]
Despite her qualifications as a lawyer in her home country, Oyuna would be unable to cross credit many of her previous qualifications due to the differences between the common law and civil law legal systems. Thus, she would need to study for a bachelor of law degree (LLB) again to practise law in a common law country like Australia. This requirement would have cost Oyuna many thousands more dollars, despite having already paid for a law degree overseas. Spending an additional 2-3 years (and thousands more dollars) studying to meet the requirements of an Australian law degree was too much a financial hardship to undertake, thus her disadvantage from the outset.
In spite of this, Oyuna started her Australian journey by studying for a Doctor of Legal Science degree at Bond University and is now undertaking the Graduate Certificate in Migration Law and Practice here in Brisbane at Griffith University, which will enable her to become qualified to work as a migration agent. She finds so much relevance between the legal practice and the migration practice, so is truly enthusiastic about her new profession.
Why Oyuna chose the migration course
People cannot choose their place of birth and some of them would be lucky to be born in a developed country, while many of them, who were born in poor countries with little economic opportunity or even war-torn countries, would face many hardships and disadvantages.
In addition to the being able to qualify to register as an Australian Migration Agent, one of the reasons Oyuna decided to undertake the course was to help make contributions to others’ lives:
As someone who has emigrated myself, I know what it is like to live poor, and I also believe that people should be given a chance to choose a country where they want to live
Using the migration course to make meaning
…there is a shortage of qualified non-profit and pro bono legal counsel
As Oyuna studies, she currently works part-time with a not-for-profit organisation in Queensland, using her expertise to serve migrants, helping them resolve their migration law issues. Oyuna tells us she wants a job where she can use her skills as a lawyer to contribute to a greater purpose than her own. Her ambition is to become an immigration lawyer, helping migrants to:
- apply for asylum
- move to Australia legally
- defend against deportation or removal
When it comes to finding employment, Oyuna wants to find an employer who holds a strong sense of social justice – an employer who is keen on “giving back to the community”.
About the award
The Just Redemptive Outcomes® Award is a cash donation of $600 to a student who has overcome hardships and obstacles, but persevered and enrolled in the Graduate Certificate in Australian Migration Law and Practice. Eligible recipients were required to meet the following selection criteria:
- English must be a second language
- In receipt of a Centrelink payment OR have demonstrable financial disadvantage
- Possess a GPA of 6 or higher
The award was inspired by the Parable of the Sower, as written in Matthew 13, as the farmer scattered seeds. While some seeds fell on shallow ground or thorny areas, some seeds fell on fertile soil, producing a plentiful crop orders of magnitude larger than what was sown.
Our Eduardo Cruz (Senior Associate) presenting Ms Bordukh with the Corney & Lind Just Redemptive Outcomes® Award at Griffith University this year.