Can your Migration Agent be held Responsible?
Having entered its 28th year of conservative economic growth Australia offers varied opportunities in numerous fields to enthusiastic individuals, making it one of the most popular destinations for migration in the world.
In the year 2018 there were an estimated 7.3 Migrants living in Australia. The migration programme is used to build the economy, shape society and support the labor market. The Migration programme changes periodically and has evolved from having mostly family migrants from 1993-4 to attracting more skilled migrants since 2013.
With the increasing numbers of individuals migrating to Australia, the procedure involved has become more complex resulting in an influx of migration agents, specially in South East Asia.
Australia regulates and monitors such individuals within Australia via the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (OMARA) which specifies that any individual providing immigration assistance in Australia should be Registered as an agent under the Authority, which is a legal requirement under the Migration Act of 1958.
A Registered Agent is bound by the Code of Conduct ( A code of Conduct that Registered Migration Agents are legally bound to adhere to) and individuals interested in being Agents are required to attend and pass a prescribed course accredited by OMARA and passed the prescribed examination unless the individual is a lawyer.
However, Migration Agents located outside the Country are not legally bound to register with the OMARA which has resulted in an abundance of fraudulent activities carried out by un registered and un regulated Migration Consultants located outside Australia.
This Article explores the Importance of getting assistance from a MARA Registered Agent in the event a potential Migrant would require assistance:
First things first, there are a few ways to validate if your migration agent is enumerated with OMARA:
- See its seven digits agent’s registration number.
- Browse the MARA website and click on search for an agent.
- Enter the agent’s credentials including their one-off Migration Agent’s Registration Number.
A Registered Agent is bound by laws and Regulations and
answerable for his/her actions in a court of law ;
An Agent is bound by:
- Australian Consumer Protection Law.
- Code of Conduct as specified in the migration act 1998.
- Migration Regulations 1994.
- Australian Crimes Act 1914.
- Criminal Code Act 1995.
- The Trade Practices Act 1974.
There is always a possibility of things going wrong; there have been numerous incidents of fraud committed by Agents claiming to be able to find employment and provide a pathway to permanent residency. In the occurrence of such and event, if you use an unregistered migration agent you are vulnerable to risk with no insurance. However, every Customer of a Registered Agent is protected by the aforementioned legislation.
A registered Agent is required by law:
- To stick to the criterion in the Code of Conduct.
- To be honest about your chances of receiving a visa.
- To hand over you a contract of facilities and charges before commencing the process. This settlement should give you a summary of costs included with the agent’s official charge.
- To keep you informed about the progress if your visa application and provide let you know about the outcome of your application in writing.
- To provide you with an invoice for the work they have done.
- To manage your money in a sperate account until services are provided, and conduct timely audits.
- To keep client records for 7 years.
It’s clear that using a MARA Registered Agent gives you protection and is always required by law to act in your legitimate interest. In addition to which there are a couple of other benefits of using a registered agent for migration assistance, such as:
- They must be updated on all the latest migratory laws and regulations as well as maintain a professional library with direct access to migration regulations.
- The refusal rates among Registered Agents are low.
- They are required to keep you updated about the progress of your Visa Application.
- And most importantly, you can file a complaint to MARA if you are not satisfied with a migration agent service.
There are several reasons as to why you should ensure that you only obtain assistance from MARA Registered Migration Agents, there have been many incidents where customers have lost large amounts of money by believing false information given by agents, and some others where important documentation etc have been misplaced.
We believe that this Article highlights the importance of using a registered Agent, the benefits of doing so and the danger involved in using an un-registered agent.
Always keep in mind that If you are advised from an agent who is not a certified migration mediator, the division of the MARA cannot help you with your issue.
Australian Visa Hub (AVH), a Company affiliated to Jason A Briggs Lawyers In Australia, bearing MARA Registration number 1796181 is currently the only Migration Consultant in the country affiliated and managed by Australians while being one of 12 Consultants in Colombo to be registered with the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (OMARA) in Australia.
You can find a list of verified agents via the website below: