The Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA) regulates the Migration Agents profession. It registers Migration Agents. To read more about the roles of migration agents, read our article on immigration consultants in Sydney here.
In this article we outline Sections from the Migration Act 1958 that discuss matters in relation to the MARA. We will go over the following Sections in this article:
Section 315: Migration Agents Registration Authority
(1) The Migration Agents Registration Authority is a departmental body responsible for overseeing and implementing the relevant regulations.
(2) The Migration Agents Registration Authority can delegate its powers or functions to the Minister or a Minister’s delegate under section 320.
Section 316: Functions of Migration Agents Registration Authority
This Section states that the functions of the MARA Authority are as follows:
- Process registration applications in accordance with the relevant regulations.
- Monitor the behaviour and actions of registered migration agents while providing immigration assistance.
- Investigate complaints related to the provision of immigration assistance by registered migration agents.
- Take appropriate disciplinary action against registered migration agents or former registered migration agents.
- Report apparent offences against the relevant regulations to the appropriate prosecuting authorities.
- Oversee the adequacy of any Code of Conduct related to migration agents.
- Perform any other functions conferred on the Authority by the relevant regulations.
- The Authority can investigate complaints about former registered migration agents only if the complaint is received within 12 months after they ceased to be registered migration agents.
Section 317: General Powers of the Migration Agents Registration Authority
Furthermore, the MARA is empowered to undertake all actions that are necessary or convenient for the performance of its functions or related tasks.
Section 318: Power to Refer People to Mediation
In the event that the Migration Agents Registration Authority is conducting an investigation into a complaint concerning a current or former registered migration agent, the Authority has the option to refer both the complainant and the implicated individual to a mediator to seek resolution for the raised concerns.
Section 319: Referral of Conduct of Certain Migration Agents to Legal Disciplinary Authorities
The Migration Agents Registration Authority has the right to refer the actions of a registered migration agent or a former registered migration agent, who is also an Australian legal practitioner, to the appropriate authority responsible for disciplining legal practitioners in a State or Territory under two conditions:
- (a) The legal practitioner held a valid practicing certificate in that State or Territory.
- (b) The conduct in question took place while the legal practitioner was a registered migration agent, regardless of whether it was related to their legal practice.
(2) If the Migration Agents Registration Authority refers the conduct of a registered migration agent to the appropriate legal authority, it cannot take action against the agent under section 303 of the regulations, which allows for cautioning, suspension, or cancellation of a registered migration agent’s registration based on their conduct.
(3) Similarly, if the Migration Agents Registration Authority refers the conduct of a former registered migration agent to the relevant legal authority, it cannot take action against them under subsection 311A(1), which permits the Authority to bar a former registered migration agent from re-registering for a maximum period of 5 years from the date of the Authority’s decision.
Section 320: Minister May Delegate Powers and Functions
(1) The Minister has the authority to delegate any powers or functions granted to the Migration Agents Registration Authority under this Part to an APS (Australian Public Service) employee within the Department. This delegation is outlined in section 315, which explains the nature, powers, and functions of the Migration Agents Registration Authority.
(2) The delegation process requires a written document signed by the Minister.
(3) When the Minister delegates a power or function of the Migration Agents Registration Authority to a delegate, the Minister is allowed to disclose personal information to the delegate to facilitate the exercise of that power or performance of the function.
Section 321A: Disclosure of Personal Information by the Migration Agents Registration Authority
- The Migration Agents Registration Authority is permitted to disclose personal information about a registered migration agent or an inactive migration agent to specific recipients, including:
- the Secretary or an authorised officer,
- and a review authority.
- However, such disclosure can only occur in circumstances that are prescribed by the regulations.
- The regulations have the authority to define the circumstances in which the recipient may utilise or disclose the personal information that was disclosed under subsection (1).
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