Regional Migration Conference 2024 Program


Time Topic

8:00 am

Registrations Open

8:45 am

National President's Address

9:20 am

Dr Patrick Bryson, A/g Assistant Secretary
Skilled Visas Branch | Department of Home Affairs

This session will cover the development of the skilled migration program within the context of current and future migration strategies

10:00 am

Morning Tea

10:30 am

Industry Perspectives on regional migration needs

Mark Cody (Executive Director, Primary Industries Skills Council) and Kym Morgan (Director, Policy and Communications, Master Builders SA) 
Chair: Jackson Taylor 

Industry perspectives on the role of migration in developing agribusiness, primary industries and construction work forces

11:45 am

State and Territory regional approaches to promotion of skilled migration pathways

Okke Velzeboer (Chair), Junfeng Zhu (Senior Manager, Skilled and Business Migration SA), Anne McCotter (Associate Director, Business and Skilled Migration Investment, NSW), Marney Richardson (Manager, Migration Queensland) & Adam Walker (Director, Service Delivery Operations, WA Department of Training and Workforce Development)

Hear from State and Territory representatives on their current initiatives, key challenges and things that can be changed based on previous engagement

12:30 pm


01:30 pm

Progressing the Regionalisation ambition

Liz Ritchie CEO, Regional Australia Institute
Chair: Anke Nagel, MMIA

After a decade of research into the light and shade of regions, in 2022, the RAI launched the nation’s only holistic plan for regional Australia. The Regionalisation Ambition 2032 sets targets across all the fundamental parts of regional living and challenges the nation to think differently and do better when it comes to regional policy and investment.
In her speech, Liz will explore recent migration patterns of both internal and international migrants and pose the critical elements that we must get right to Rebalance the Nation.

02:15 pm

Afternoon Tea

 02:45 pm 

 Jobs and Skills Australia off list for regional and agricultural occupations 

Cliff Bingham, Assistant Secretary, Labour Market and Migration Branch, Jobs and Skills Australia 
Chair: Sean Choong MMIA 

03:30 pm

What should the Government's migration strategy look like to meet the needs of regional Australia?

Helen Duncan (Chair), Amanda Tinner (Registered Migration Agent, Visa Executive Pty Ltd),  Carina Ford (Managing Partner and Accredited Immigration and Administrative Law Specialist, Carina Ford Immigration Lawyers), Associate Professor Yan Tan (Program Director, Hugo Population and Migration Studies, Stretton Institute)

A panel discussion and Q&A session on the needs of regional Australia in building skilled and other essential workforces. Explore options within the migration strategy for expanding these workforces and developing future regional communities

05:25 pm



*This program is subject to change.




Helen Duncan LMMIA
CEO (Interim)

Helen has been a Registered Migration Agent (RMA) and MIA member since 2000. She most recently held the position of Immigration Director with a global migration firm after managing her own company for 12 years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Demography and worked for the Department of Immigration prior to becoming an RMA, including 3 years as Senior Migration Officer in Los Angeles.
Dr Patrick Bryson
A/g Assistant Secretary Skilled Visas Branch in the Department of Home Affairs

Dr Patrick Bryson is currently acting Assistant Secretary, Skilled Visas Branch, in the Department of Home Affairs.
He joined the then Department of Immigration and Citizenship in 2011, and has led several key reforms in the skilled program in recent years – including implementation of the Aged Care Industry Labour Agreement, and the introduction of the Pacific Engagement Visa. Patrick holds a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Newcastle.
Liz Ritchie
CEO, Regional Australia Institute

Liz Ritchie’s had a lifelong affiliation with regional Australia, having spent her childhood in Deniliquin in south-western New South Wales. As CEO of the Regional Australia Institute her goal is to empower regions to thrive through leadership, activation, and impact. Liz spearheaded the development of the Regionalisation Ambition – a 10 year, 20 goal framework, that aims to ‘rebalance the nation’ by ensuring greater equity for our rural and regional communities.
Amanda Tinner

One of Australia’s most knowledgeable and reputable visa and immigration experts, Amanda leads a national team of migration agents and solicitors that help clients bring talented employees into Australia through effective visas and migration law compliance.

With more than 20 years’ experience in immigration, Amanda is a tenacious and values-driven company owner who models a consultative client service approach. She launched Visa Executive in 2005 and oversaw its evolution to a registered law firm in 2021.

Amanda began her career with the Department of Immigration at the Australian High Commission in London, then progressed to various research and consulting roles focused on business migration, immigration law, and global relocation services.

She’s a registered migration agent, has a Bachelor of Arts, and has received industry plaudits including being awarded a prestigious Migration Institute of Australia fellowship and being nominated for a Global Mobility Professional of the Year award.
Junfeng Zhu
Senior Manager, Skilled and Business Migration

Jun joined to lead Skilled and Business Migration in Department for Industry, Innovation and Science in February 2024. She brings on board extensive management experiences in the international space in both private and government sectors.

Jun joined the South Australian Government in 2014, her experiences include as the Executive Manager for International Business and Marketing in Department for Education and as Manager, Greater China, North East Asia and South East Asia at the Department for Trade and Investment.

She has an impressive track record of successfully delivering on critical government objectives. Before joining the public sector in South Australia, Junfeng spent 11 years in the private sector conducting trade and investment across different global markets, achieving successful commercial outcomes, including as a young Department chief in a listed company.
Mark Cody

After tertiary education, Mark travelled extensively, mostly in Europe and Asia, and worked in a number of industries including running his own business before embarking on a 4 year career in epidemiology (Oxford University) and international project management in the Middle East.

Mark subsequently joined the Commonwealth Department of Employment, Education and Training in 1975. During his 20 year Government career, he was seconded to the National CBT Secretariat to assist in the design of and report on the establishment of the National Vocational Education and Training System.

Currently Mark is involved in 5 companies across Asia, has been a member of the National Skills Council for the Agribusiness sector, the Executive Director of the Primary Industries Skills Council (30 years) and is an ISO Lead Auditor.

Recently he co-authored the National Industry Labour Agreement for the Horticulture Industry and has regularly contributed papers to the Commonwealth and State Governments on various policy matters including international education, demography and migration.
Carina Ford
Managing Partner and Accredited Immigration and Administrative Law Specialist, Carina Ford Immigration Lawyers

Carina is a regular presenter of CPD topics in immigration law for a range of bodies and writes for the Immigration Law service for Lexis Nexis. She has an extensive review practice at the AAT, IAA and Judicial Review. Her firm has a vast area of practice ranging from refugee cases, sports related visa issues, overseas students, character and identity cancellation cases, employer sponsored and labour agreements, global talent and business visas as well as an extensive pro bono practice with a particular focus on vulnerable persons. Carina also runs some high profile cases, including the “Home to Bilo” case seeking the return of a family detained to their home town to Biloea, Queensland.

In 2022, she was awarded Lawyers Weekly Partner of the Year -Immigration and Australia’s best immigration lawyer as part of the annual Best Lawyers survey in 2021. She was the recipient of the Law Institute of Victoria’s (LIV) Paul Baker Award for outstanding service to Administrative Law and Human Rights in 2017.

Carina is a member of numerous legal boards and committees. She co-chaired the LIV’s Refugee Law Reform Committee between 2018 -2022 and the Sports Law Committee between 2019 2021. She is also an active member of the Migration Law Committee of the Law Institute of Victoria and the Law Council of Australia (LCA) and is the chair of the Refugee working group of the LCA. She served as Vice-Chair of the LCA Migration Law Committee in 2017 and 2018.

She is also a registered New Zealand Migration Adviser and a member of the New Zealand Association for Migration and Investment. Her interests outside of the law include running ( she has competed in over 20 marathons), playing hockey and being part of a sporting community whilst raising 3 children.
Cliff Bingham
Assistant Secretary, Labour Market Research and Analysis Branch of the National Skills Commission

Cliff Bingham is Assistant Secretary of the Labour Market and Migration Branch of Jobs and Skills Australia. He leads Jobs and Skills Australia’s work to advise on issues affecting the state of the Australian and international labour markets, and how these affect Australia’s current and emerging workforce skills needs. He has worked across a number of Australian Public sector agencies for more than 20 years, including on long-run demographic and labour productivity analysis for the Department of the Treasury and on outcomes-focused performance measurement for the Australian Taxation Office
Okke Velzeboer
SA Business, Industry and Regional Outreach Officer | Visa Engagement and Outreach Section | Skilled and Family Visa Program Branch | Immigration Programs Division | Immigration and Settlement Services Group | Department of Home Affairs

Okke has worked at the Department of Home Affairs in stakeholder engagement for over ten years and currently manages the Business, Industry and Regional Outreach team in South Australia. With a key interest in the Space, Defence, Circular Economy and Digitech sectors, Okke engages across a range of industries to promote Australia’s skilled migration and global talent visa programs.
Adam Walker
Director of Service Delivery Operations | WA Department of Training and Workforce Development

Adam Walker is the Director of Service Delivery Operations at the WA Department of Training and Workforce Development, and brings to this role over 15 years of expertise in public policy and intergovernmental relations. His extensive experience in strategic support and guidance spans various Government Departments, including the Department of the Premier and Cabinet where he has been a Principal Advisor to the Deputy Premier, Minister for Police, and Minister for Health. Most recently, Adam has played a pivotal role in the design and roll out of the nation-leading Construction Visa Subsidy Program (CVSP) and the WA-based Construction Migration Office (CMO).
Jackson Taylor
Managing Partner | Roam Migration Law, Co-Founder | Complize

Jackson is the Managing Partner at Roam Migration Law and co-founder of Complize, an online immigration compliance platform.

He has worked in immigration since 2008, primarily on employer sponsored visa matters. His experience ranges from Fortune 500 and companies to start-ups and boutique SMEs. His current practice is focused on employer sponsored visa matters, corporate compliance, the Global Talent program and advocating for policy reform. Jackson is particularly interested in the confluence of immigration and employment law and how government policy shapes the experiences of temporary migrants in the workplace. He is also interested in policy reform in business and skilled migration, using academic research to improve migration outcomes, and employer compliance.
Marney Richardson
Manager | Migration Queensland (MQ) | Trade and Investment Queensland | Queensland State Government

Marney Richardson is the Manager at Migration Queensland (MQ), which is a business unit of Trade and Investment Queensland and part of the Queensland State Government. MQ has a focus on attracting the best and the brightest skilled and business migrants from around the world to work, invest, live and play in Queensland.
Anke Nagel
National Vice President and QLD/NT Branch President | MIA

Anke holds a Masters in Germanic Philology and a Graduate Certificate in Business Communications from Ghent University (Belgium). She completed the Graduate Certificate in Australian Migration Law and Practice from ANU. She has been a Registered Migration Agent since 2009 and was elected as QLD/NT Branch President in October 2021 and again in October 2023. Anke has been on the MIA’s Regional Migration Committee since its inception. Anke is based in Alice Springs and has held the position of National Vice President since October 2023.
Sean Choong
National Treasurer and SA Branch President | MIA

Sean graduated in 2005 from the University of Technology Sydney with a Bachelor Degree in Marketing and Finance. He completed the Graduate Certificate in Australian Migration Law and Practice in 2016 from Victoria University and has worked as a Registered Migration Agent since June 2017. Sean migrated from Malaysia to Adelaide in 2014 and was elected as SA Branch President in October 2023 when he was also elected as National Treasurer.
Dr Yan Tan
Associate Professor | Department of Geography, Environment and Population at the University of Adelaide (UoA)

Dr Yan Tan is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography, Environment and Population at the University of Adelaide (UoA). She is the Inaugural Director of the Hugo Population and Migration Program (2022–) at Stretton Institute. Yan’s research falls within the field of population and environmental studies, with a focus on migration. She is the lead CI on two ARC-funded Discovery Projects (DP230103060, DP170101726); she was earlier ARC QEII Fellow/CI (DP110105522). Her research has advanced the state of knowledge in migration, displacement, and resettlement within China (Tan 2018a, 2018b, 2020) and with Australia (Tan & Lester 2012; Tan et al. 2023); created analytical frameworks and techniques to unravel migration–diaspora–development relationships (Tan et al. 2021); reshaped migration theory (Tan et al. 2018c) where data had been incomplete, inaccurate, or definitionally vague; facilitated refinements to China’s diaspora policy (Tan & Liu 2022a); in Tan and Liu (2022b), resolved an impasse involving diaspora theory, limited data, and measurements (Wiley Prize, 2022: innovative profiling of Australia’s Chinese diaspora). Her results have added critical depth to our understanding of core problems for translation into workable policy to reduce vulnerability and promote sustainable resettlement.