The Migration Act (1958) covers this important topic of registration of migration agents. Migration agents in Australia are professionals who provide assistance and advice regarding immigration and visa processes.
They are knowledgeable about the complex and frequently changing immigration laws and regulations of Australia. These agents offer services to individuals, families, and businesses, guiding them through visa applications, eligibility assessments, and other immigration-related matters.
Much like immigration lawyers, migration agents have to stay up-to-date with immigration policies. By doing so, they help clients make informed decisions and ensure that their applications are accurate and complete.
Migration agents and migration lawyers play a crucial role in facilitating successful immigration journeys, easing the often daunting process of moving to and staying in Australia. Immigration lawyers, unlike agents, can also help clients with appeal processes in tribunals and courts.
In this article, we will explore the following sections in relation to the registration of migration agents:
Section 287: Register of Migration Agents
Firstly, the Migration Agents Registration Authority maintains a “Register of Migration Agents” containing registered migration agents’ information.
The Register includes:
- each agent’s full name,
- business names,
- business address,
- contact number,
- registration date,
- suspension details,
- caution particulars, and
- other prescribed information.
Moreover, the Authority keeps records of the Register’s contents, including cancellations, suspensions, and cautions issued to registered agents.
The Section also states that the Authority can publish a list of former registered migration agents’ names, registration numbers, and cessation dates, removing the details after a set period.
The Register is accessible for public inspection in an appropriate format and during reasonable times. Details regarding suspended registrations and cautions are removed from the Register when they are no longer applicable.
Lastly, the Authority follows regulations to determine the timeframe for removing these details, which may vary based on the case.
Section 288: Application for Registration of Migration Agents
This Section states that individuals seeking registration as migration agents can apply to the Migration Agents Registration Authority. Furthermore, applicants must fulfil one of two publishing options defined in section 288A (see below), unless they were previously registered within the prescribed period.
The application format, approved by the Authority, requires relevant information and may involve a statutory declaration or answering questions as per section 288B. The application date is determined by the regulations.
The applicant must pay the registration application fee for the Authority to consider the application. If required to meet publishing options, applicants must present evidence of compliance to the Authority.
If an applicant had prior registration and faced suspension or cancellation with a review application, the Authority only reviews after all proceedings are concluded.
Note that while applicants can withdraw their applications in writing, the registration fee is non-refundable.
Section 288A: Publishing Requirement
This section sets out 2 publishing options for the individual for the purposes of Subsection 288.
Individual Publication Option
- The first option involves the individual publishing a notice in the prescribed manner.
- This notice must declare the person’s intention to apply for registration.
- It must also inform that anyone can submit a written objection to the Migration Agents Registration Authority within 30 days after the notice’s publication.
- If the notice needs to be published multiple times, the objection period remains 30 days after the last publication.
Joint Publication Option
- The second option allows an individual and one or more colleagues from the same employer, all intending to apply for registration, to jointly publish a single notice.
- The notice should state the collective intention to seek registration.
- It should also inform that anyone can present a written objection to the Authority regarding the registration of any or all of the individuals within 30 days after the notice’s publication.
- Similarly, if the notice is published multiple times, the 30-day objection period starts from the last publication.
Section 288B: Requirements to Provide Further Information Etc
This section under registration of migration agents pertains to applicants who are not registered migration agents on the day their registration application is considered.
Notice for Additional Information:
- The Migration Agents Registration Authority can request applicants, through written notice, to provide specific information related to the application.
- The applicant must either submit a statutory declaration and other specified documents within a prescribed period, or appear before the Authority to provide the information and documents at a specified time and place.
Potential Refusal and Further Submission:
- Failure to comply with the notice’s requirement may lead to the Authority considering application refusal.
- If the Authority contemplates refusal, the applicant is given an opportunity to submit further information in support of the application.
Registration Denial Conditions:
- An applicant can’t be registered if they haven’t met the notice’s requirements within the specified period or at the scheduled appearance.
- The Authority must be unsatisfied with the provided information after considering the further submission, and if applicable, information given during the appearance.
- The Authority can extend the compliance period upon the applicant’s request or reschedule the appearance time and place based on the applicant’s request.
- The notice mentioned under “Notice for additional information” must include an explanation of the consequences of non-compliance as described in this section.
Section 289: Registration of Migration Agents
The Migration Agents Registration Authority is required to register an applicant by adding their name to the Register, unless there are specific prohibitions in this Part.
When the Authority is contemplating rejecting a registration application, it must offer the applicant an opportunity to provide additional support for the application, as outlined in sections 309 and 310.
However, if the applicant was obligated under section 288 to fulfil one of two publishing options:
- The Authority can’t register the applicant before the objections period specified in the notice has concluded.
- Any objections received during that time must be taken into consideration by the Authority when deciding whether to proceed with the applicant’s registration.
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