In recent months the Australian migration advisory industry has taken a terrible hit with allegations of widespread fraud, corruption and unprofessional conduct. With the barrage of negative publicity, the reputations of thousands of respected Registered Migration Agents (RMA) have been tarnished by the actions of unregistered agents and education agents.
In this blog we would like to explore the migration advisory profession in a little more detail and explain why using a RMA has many benefits and how not using one comes with significant risk.
Whilst the word “Agent” is a generic term indicating that a person is authorised to act on behalf of another, the majority of RMA’s are ethical professionals who work within the framework of a highly regulated industry. RMA’s provide a scope of services above and beyond simply acting on behalf of a client
An RMA uses their in-depth knowledge of Australian migration regulations and procedures to provide advice and assistance to a person wishing to obtain a visa to enter or remain in Australia. RMA’s also assist people who are nominating or sponsoring visa applicant’s e.g. an Australian citizen wishing to sponsor a parent or employers who wish to sponsor a skilled migrant. Using an RMA maximises the chances of a successful outcome and saves a great deal of time, as we will take responsibility for seeing that the application is prepared accurately and the correct documentation is submitted.
Expat International’s visa division was founded by Margaret McCartney, C.E.O in the 1980’s. We have long history of providing visa and migration services in Australia and an exemplary record of success. Expat is well respected by the public and our industry peers for providing high level consultancy, advocacy and visa case management services to both businesses and individuals.
Our team is comprised of migration professionals recognised for their high level of client service, education, training and work experience. Collectively we have over 25 years of Australian migration knowledge and experience.
In Australia RMA’s must meet requirements under Part 3 of the Migration Act 1958. In the twelve months before applying for registration, potential RMA’s must have:
- Completed the Graduate Certificate in Australian Migration Law & Practice AND
- Passed the prescribed exams which form part of this Graduate Certificate
Only four Australian universities are allowed to offer the Graduate Certificate in Australian Migration Law & Practice. Australian National University (ANU) is the largest provider of the course and was ranked 14th in the 2013 QS World University Rankings. Griffith University (ranked 48th in the world), Murdoch University and Victoria University are the other three respected universities offering the graduate course. Eligible applicants must hold at least a three-year Bachelor degree or equivalent and meet the College of Law English language requirements. Expat’s RMA’s completed their qualifications at ANU, Griffith and Victoria University.
The Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (OMARA) regulates the migration advice profession in Australia. OMARA’s functions include educating the public on their rights, ensuring RMA’s understand their obligations, and ensuring only suitable people are registered as agents and that unsuitable people are refused registration or re-registration. The professional standards and obligations administered by the OMARA are outlined on the regulator’s website and include the Code of Conduct, which all RMA’s must adhere to. We encourage you to visit the OMARA website and review the professional standards and Code of Conduct, which Expat’s RMA’s are proud to abide by.
Unregistered agents who give immigration assistance (even without charging a fee) are breaking the law and penalties of up to 10 years jail can apply. The DIBP and the OMARA warn against using unregistered agent who may:
- Have limited knowledge of Australian immigration law and procedures.
- Give incorrect advice, make false promises or try to take advantage of the situation.
- Not handle money correctly. Registered Migration Agents are obligated to keep clients’ money in a separate account, until a block of work has been completed. (Some unregistered agents have defrauded large amounts of cash from clients).
- Misplace important original documents and pertinent information due to poor record keeping.
- Withhold information and not inform you of a visa outcome in a timely manner.
Using an unregistered agent may result in a visa refusal, cancellation of an existing Australian visa, deportation and/or visa application exclusion periods. Not to mention, the significant monetary cost and emotional stress that will be incurred.
When you engage Expat as your trusted migration advisor, you are guaranteed to receive:
- Up-to-date knowledge of Australia’s immigration law and procedure.
- An experienced and dedicated team of RMA’s who provide ethical, accurate migration advice, tangible solutions, realistic timeframes and our honest opinion for success.
- Assurance that the documents you need for the application are of a standard that meets the DIBP requirements; and that of the State Government, if necessary.
- Assistance with any complexities or points of law that might apply to your unique case.
- An authorised representative who will liaise with the DIBP, other government bodies, local business and stakeholders. We will present the best possible case to the DIBP and advocate on your behalf.
- Streamlined visa case management with regular updates until a decision is made.
- Customised training and support to ensure your business is compliant with all relevant sponsorship obligations, visa regulation updates and any impact on HR matters.
- Access to our visa team for general immigration queries, advice and consultation.
- Written cost projection of the fees to represent you, including additional costs such as medicals and translations.
Expat International cannot influence the outcome or fast-track the processing of an application or guarantee the grant of a visa. However, we offer piece of mind that your visa and migration matters will be handled in a professional manner and that the best possible outcome will be achieved. Please contact our friendly visa team today to see how we can help you.