A migration agent in Australia provides advice and assistance to people pursuing to enter or stay in Australia. They consult with individuals and families who are seeking to immigrate to Australia. Additionally, migration agents responsibilities include:
- Assisting in filling out a client’s visa applications
- Gathering and assembling the appropriate documentation for the visa application
- Lodging an visa application on the client’s behalf.
Thus, becoming a migration agent needs quite a bit of preparation, compliances, and knowledge. A migration agent is someone who The Australian Government has set specific criteria and requirements for the role. If you are pursuing your career as a migration agent in Australia, in this blog, we will be discussing some key requirements to know.
To Become a Migration Agent in Australia
In Australia, you must be registered with the Office of Migration Agents Registration Authority (OMARA) to operate as an immigration agent. OMARA is responsible for regulating and monitoring the consumers of migration agent businesses to make sure all agents comply with the qualification and standards.
The Australian government has also defined a set of clear guidelines, popularly known as the MARA Code of Conduct. The code of conduct defines the expectations from migration agents and what obligations they have to adhere to. To increase ethical practice and transparency in the migration industry, the code of conduct has set the guidelines on Standards of Professional Conduct, fees and charges, record keeping, financial duties, complaints, termination of services, and so on.
Besides, you need to check on some eligibility criteria before registering, as mentioned below.
1. Age Limit
When you apply to register as a migration agent, you should be 18 years of age or older.
2. Australian Citizenship
You should have valid Australian citizenship or be an Australian permanent resident. However, you can also be a New Zealand citizen with a special category visa (and physically in Australia when OMARA makes their decision on your application).
To be an eligible agent, you must either have a current law practising degree or should have a Graduate Diploma in Australian Migration Law. The course covers the specific knowledge areas required by OMARA and only certain universities offer this recognised degree. Additionally, you should also complete a Capstone Assessment aside the university course. The written and oral capstone assessment determines a student’s central knowledge and skills and tests whether the student has achieved the intended outcomes of a study program.
4. English Language Requirement
You can show you have sufficient English language skills by either your education history or English language tests.
Firstly, you can verify your English language skills by your education history, you must prove you hold a
- an Australian Year 10 and above equivalent school certificate.
- a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree.
The certificate or degree must be from a school from Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom or the United States of America.
You can also verify your English language skills by English language tests, in which you must have:
- 7 score in the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) in the last two years.
- 94 score in the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) in the last two years.
5. Obtain National Police Certificate
The next step is to obtain National Police Certificate through the Australian Police Force (AFP). It intends to ensure you are fit and proper to be registered as a migration agent and a person of integrity. The date of issue of the certificate must be in 12 months before applying to OMARA.
6. Purchase Professional Indemnity Insurance
You also need to prove you have professional indemnity insurance to become a migration agent in Australia. Professional indemnity insurance protects you when giving professional advice to clients. If a client claims a mistake your business made caused them injury or financial loss, professional indemnity covers the cost of your legal defence and damages you have to pay.
You need to present proof of your insurance of at least AUD250,000 every time you apply for registration.
7. Maintain Your Professional Library
You should have access to a professional library that contains the most current laws and policies. Thus, the library must be maintained as outlined by the MARA Code of Conduct. This includes:
- Migration Act 1958
- Migration Regulations 1994
- other legislation relating to migration procedure, in line with Clause 2.5(a)(iii) of the Code of Conduct for registered migration agents (The Code)
- portfolio, policies and procedures, in line with Clause 2.5(a)(iv) of the Code
You must also have access to Home Affairs policies and procedures on immigration. To access them, subscribe to either:
8. Pay the Application Fee
There is a certain application fee payable for every registration. The application fee depends upon the type of registration you apply for.
9. Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
Once you become a migration agent, you must complete professional development hours every year to keep up with the changes in the migration industry. You can meet your Continuing Professional Development (CPD) obligations through lectures, conferences, workshops, or courses for instance.
Getting yourself registered as a migration agent in Australia is a thorough process. The criteria help to maintain that all the registered migration agents meet the same standard and eligibility.