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ABOUT MIGRATION AGENT
A Registered Migration Agent in Australia or a Licensed Immigration Adviser in New Zealand is a highly- skilled professional who has the expertise in giving you immigration assistance and professional advise with regard to visa application. Under Australian and New Zealand laws, anyone who uses knowledge of migration procedures to offer immigration assistance to a person wishing to obtain a visa to enter or remain in Australia or New Zealand must be registered or exempt from registration. All registered migration agents are bound by the Migration Agents Code of Conduct, which requires agents to act professionally in their clients’ lawful best interests. As immigration rules are very dynamic, the migration agent can explain to the client in simple words the meaning of every policy in the regulation. The migration agent may be a lawyer or a holder of Graduate Certificate in Australian or New Zealand Laws. The Office of the Migration Agent Regulations Authority (OMARA) and Immigration Advisers Authority (IAA) are the regulating bodies of migration adviser professionals in Australia and New Zealand respectively.
A registered migration agent is qualified to help you with your visa application and can deal with the Department of Home Affairs (the Department) and other organisations for you.
You do not have to use an agent to lodge your visa application, but they can be very helpful, especially if your case is complex.
The help an agent can give you and the help an agent cannot give you is in this table.
It is important to choose the right registered migration agent. Here are some questions and answers that will help you do this.
What kind of help do you need?
Think about what help you need and check that the agent can give this help. A registered migration agent is qualified to give immigration assistance, which includes lodging your visa application or applying to the Migration and Refugee Division of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for review of a visa decision.
Using a registered migration agent
Think about what else is important in an agent. Do you need:
• advice about visa options?
• help to lodge a particular type of visa?
• advice on a particular type of visa?
• an agent who is also a lawyer (legally qualified)?
• an agent who speaks your language?
• advice about issues such as education?
Do you need an agent who is also a lawyer (legally qualified)?
Some agents are also lawyers (legally qualified). Most of the work performed by agents does not require legal skills, but some does. For example, you might need an agent who is also a lawyer when you:
• are applying to a court to review a decision not to grant you a visa (only agents who are also lawyers can help you with this)
• need legal advice on your visa application.
You need to be sure you choose the best person to be your agent. Before you sign an agreement with an agent, you might want to talk to a few on the phone or in a meeting. Then you can compare them, including the initial advice they give and how much they will charge (their fees).
Here are some questions you can ask an agent when you first talk to them.
Does the agent have the right skills and experience to help you?
You can check if the agent has the right skills and experience by asking:
• about their experience with the type of visa application you want to apply for
• for their advice on how likely it is your application will succeed and why they think this (the agent must give this advice in writing if you ask them to)
• about the steps they will take to help you.
Does the agent speak your language or can they arrange an interpreter?
You can ask the agent if they speak a particular language. An agent must give you access to an interpreter if you need one. If you need an interpreter, ask the agent for one in your first phone call or meeting.
A registered migration agent must meet professional standards and will only encourage you to proceed with an application if you have a realistic chance of being granted a visa. Using a registered migration agent has many benefits. Not using one has many risks as detailed in the table below: