According to the Migration Act, only registered migration agents or exempt persons can legally give immigration assistance for providing “immigration assistance”.
These exempt persons that can provide free advice include:
- a close family member such as an applicant’s spouse, child, adopted child, parent, brother or sister (it does not include any other relative)
- a sponsor
- a nominator
- a Member of Parliament or their staff
- an official in the course of their duties – such as lawyers working for Legal Aid or departmental staff performing their duties
- a member of a diplomatic mission, a consular post or an international organisation.
Not exempt persons include Education agents, who cannot provide immigration assistance in Australia (unless they are also registered migration agents).
By law, all persons acting as migration agents in Australia must be registered with the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (the Office of the MARA).
Registered migration agents must meet competency standards, keep their knowledge of migration law and procedure up to date by completing Continuing Professional Development (CPD) activities, and abide by a Code of Conduct.
Registered migration agents must have the Code of Conduct clearly displayed in their offices and make a copy of it available on request.
Penalties for giving immigration assistance if not registered
It is an offence for a person to give immigration assistance in Australia such as for a citizenship application or a permanent residency visa – without being registered by the Office of the MARA (or an exempt person).
If the person received money or a reward for their services, the penalty could be up to 10 years imprisonment.
If you have any questions or concerns as to how these may affect you, please feel free to contact me.
Office of the MARA Registered Migration Agent: Graham Copson (MARN 1575606)
Mob 0417 083 231, or by email [email protected]
“Your Migration Partner”