More protection offered for those seeking Australian migration agents

The Australian government has announced that it will adopt a majority of the recommendations made by an independent review into the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (OMARA).

Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Michaelia Cash, explained that the implementation of the review’s findings will reduce unnecessary red tape and improve outcomes for consumers of migration services, such as agency representation.

“Implementation of key recommendations will ensure that registered migration agents continue to have the necessary skills by strengthening requirements for entry into the profession, improving arrangements around professional development, and reviewing the Code of Conduct,” said Minister Case. “Changes such as these recognise that migration agents are providing important and complex advice to their clients.

“We will also reduce the regulatory burden for those agents who have a proven record of good standing by streamlining re-registration processes,” the Minister added.

It is also proposed that lawyers who are subject to relevant State or Territory legal authorities will no longer have to register with the OMARA.

“Lawyers are already subject to one of the strictest regulatory regimes of any profession,” Minister Cash said. “A key recommendation that will be adopted is to fully consolidate OMARA into the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. This will achieve operational and administrative efficiencies that will benefit the sector overall.”

In total, the report by Dr Christopher N Kendall 2014 Independent Review of the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (OMARA) includes 24 recommendations.

Implementation of the review’s recommendations will commence later in 2015 following further consultations with stakeholders.