What Is a Migration Agent?

A Migration Agent is a person who gives advice and assistance to people wanting to migrate to Australia. They can help with the preparation of documents, lodge applications and act as intermediaries to legally represent clients in dealing with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) – all for a fee.

Immigration agents work in law firms, private practice and as independent contractors. They may consult with clients face to face, on the telephone or through email. They spend a significant amount of time drafting legal documents and researching visa legislation. They use a range of office equipment, computers and specialised software to manage their client files. They often travel to meet clients and sometimes spend extended periods away from home.

Generally, a registered Migration Agent Perth will charge for their services on an hourly basis. The fee will usually be agreed between the client and the migration agent. The amount will depend on the complexity of the case and how much work is involved in preparing the application.

It is important to remember that a migration agent cannot guarantee that your visa will be granted. Your chances of success in applying for a visa will depend on your personal circumstances and the requirements of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. It is important to get professional advice before starting any visa process as the consequences of making a mistake can be very serious.

You should only deal with a registered migration agent who is licensed by the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (OMARA). A license means that they have passed the requirements to become a migration agent including the Graduate Certificate in Australian Immigration Law and Practice and are required to obtain 10 continuing professional development points each year. It is important to check your migration agent’s MARA number on the OMARA websiteexternal link before you sign any agreement. The first two digits of the MARA number will identify which year they became registered.

If you think your migration agent is unsatisfactory, you can make a complaint to OMARA. This can be done through their online complaints formexternal link. If you appoint a new migration agent, you must advise the Department of Immigration in writing using Form 956external link.

While it is not clear how the SEC will respond to foreign migration agents who engage in activities related to EB-5 securities offerings, informal statements have suggested that the SEC would require broker-dealer registration for those agents who are conducting these activities within the United States. However, these agents should be careful not to commit any misconduct which could be deemed as a “solicitation” of the sale of securities and should carefully consider whether their activities are truly “in the United States.” For those foreign migration agents that do engage in such activities, they must continue to comply with all U.S. laws, as well as any applicable foreign laws. The foreign migration agent should also be mindful of the fact that they are likely to be subject to different regulatory regimes and should seek the guidance of their legal counsel in such matters.