With over 35 years’ experience in migration and multicultural affairs, Petra has established and managed the PLAYFAIR Immigration practice since 1988. Since its inception, Petra’s practice has grown from “sole practitioner” status to an international operation with over 70 staff and a national network of over 60 contracted migration agents. Throughout this period Petra has overseen the growth of the commercial and private client department of her practice and significantly, set up and developed PLAYFAIR’s humanitarian migration department. PLAYFAIR is the only immigration practice to hold all three available Commonwealth contracts for the delivery of humanitarian immigration services.
Petra served as a Board Director and NSW President of the Migration Institute of Australia (the MIA) from 2005 to 2009. In addition to the fiscal and corporate responsibilities as a Board Director, her role at that time included delivering educational services, building membership, and representing the migration advice profession to government.
During this period, Petra was also appointed a Board Director of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (the MARA), which had been established to regulate the Australian migration advice profession. The MARA was operated by the MIA under a Deed of Agreement with the department of Immigration.
Petra currently serves as an independent director of the Migration Institute of Australia’s NSW branch.
An avid adopter of technology, Petra finally met her match when she started using a well-known voice recognition software to increase her emailing efficiency. While Petra’s email output certainly increased, the content – especially staff names – left something to be desired. Haneef became “honey”, Besmellah became “the smell, and we are still trying to work out what Petra meant when she asked us to check “the arm absences.” We do, however understand “on Siri – expect typos.”
Prior to establishing PLAYFAIR, Petra was the senior social worker for International Social Service, a government funded United Nations affiliate. During this time Petra was involved with The Refugee Council of Australia, The New South Wales Committee on Adoption and the Austcare Board of Management. Petra has represented the interests of many Australian government departments, the courts, and non-government agencies to their overseas counterparts in relation to inter-country casework; research and policy analysis relating to refugees; inter-country adoption; child abduction and repatriation. Petra was regularly called upon by the Department of Immigration to resolve complex family and refugee problems between countries.
Petra was awarded a Winston Churchill Fellowship to investigate documentary requirements prior to migration to Australia for inter-country adoptees and has subsequently served the New South Wales Churchill Fellows Association as President and Vice President. Petra was a member of inaugural committee to establish Immigration Advice and Rights Centre and was involved in the publishing of Australia’s first ‘Immigration Kit’.
Since 2010, Petra has personally managed over 50 taskforces to detention centres in remote locations across Australia. More recently Petra has led taskforces providing assistance to people being held at the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre in Papua New Guinea. Unfortunately for anyone going on deployment with Petra, they are also strongly encouraged to engage in her love of exercise. Petra is a former champion bodysurfer, and still goes for 2-3 km ocean swims before starting work in the morning, and has lifelong love of yoga and skiing. People on deployment with Petra develop selective deafness between 5am and 7am, when she is up and on the prowl looking for an exercise buddy.