Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority

Risks of receiving assistance from an unregistered person

If you do not feel confident lodging a visa application, or if your case is complex, you may wish to use a registered migration agent help with your application. In Australia, only registered migration agents are legally able to provide migration advice. Registered agents also operate overseas and are subject to the same Code of Conduct, professional development and regulations applied to registered migration agents based in Australia. If you are overseas and wish to use a migration agent you should check the register to find a registered migration agent in your area.  Registered migration agents operate all around the world.  If you are unable to find a registered migration agent and you are willing to communicate with an agent by email and telephone, you can use an agent who is located in Australia even if you are living overseas.

By using a person who is not registered with the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority to assist with your visa application, you run the risk of being exposed to migration fraud by someone who has limited knowledge on immigration procedures and who may take money without providing any service.

 

What are the benefits of using a registered migration agent?

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:

What are the benefits of using a registered migration agent?

Registered agents:

What are the risks of using a person who is not registered?

A person who is not registered:

must have a good and up-to-date knowledge of Australia’s immigration law and procedures

might have only limited knowledge of Australia’s immigration law and procedures

are bound to act in your legitimate interests and give you accurate advice through a Code of Conduct

might give incorrect advice, make false promises, or try to take advantage of your situation

must manage your money in a separate account until services are provided, and have their accounts audited from time to time

might not handle your money the right way (some have taken large amounts of cash from their clients)

must keep proper client records for seven years

might not keep proper files and misplace your important documents, including original ones

are authorised to represent you and must tell you about your visa outcome in a timely manner

have no obligation to tell you about your visa outcome

must keep a professional library with direct access to migration regulations

 

undertake continuing professional development in order to maintain knowledge of migration regulations and policy

 

charge fees that are appropriate for the complexity of the work undertaken

 

 

Reporting a person who is not registered

If you know a person who is giving immigration assistance but who is not registered as a migration agent, you should immediately report them to the Department of Home Affairs.

Telephone: 1800 009 623 (in Australia)

Website form: Border Watch online report

You can find more information on the Department of Home Affairs website.
Migration fraud and scams

Can a person who is not registered as a migration agent give immigration assistance?

In a small number of cases, a person who is not registered as an agent in Australia can help another person with their visa matter. These situations are covered by law (Section 280 of the Migration Act 1958). They are when a person who is not registered is:

  • a nominator or sponsor of the applicant
  • a close family member of the applicant, nominator or sponsor
  • an official giving assistance as part of their job
  • a parliamentarian
  • a member of a diplomatic mission, consular post or international organisation helping to prepare a submission to the Minister for Home Affairs and who is giving the help for free.

 

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