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Migration Institute of Australia attempts to mislead Federal Parliament

Registered Migration Agents/solicitors should be aware of the Migration Amendment (Regulation of Migration Agenst) Bill 2017 and of the Parliamentary Senate committee recommendation that solicitors no longer be regulated by the Office of the Migration Agent Registration Authority (OMARA).

The Parliamentary Senate committee has been receiving submissions into this matter. I recently stumbled upon a submission which was written by Ms Angela Julian-Armitage, who was the former head of the Northern Territory and Queensland branches of the Migration Institute of Australia (MIA).  This was submitted to the Parliamentary Senate Committee on 1 September 2017, strongly arguing for the case that  solicitors should remain regulated by OMARA.

MIAParliament.pdf (The MIA submission to Parliament)

The underlying notion that was put to the Parliamentary Senate Committee in Ms Angela Julian-Armitage's submssion, is that OMARA is best placed to continue to regulate registered migration agents and referred specifically to me, Sam Issa, solicitor as the perfect example as to why solicitor should remain regulated by OMARA.

The submission propounds that this would be in the best interest of consumer protection to ensure that solicitors like me, who have been found by OMARA to have engage in migration fraud are to be allowed to continue to practice as solicitors and that OMARA and not the NSW Law Society is best placed to uphold consumer protection.

The submission refers to me as a person who was sanctioned by OMARA and barred from practice as a migration agent for my apparent flagrant attempts to rort the asylum seekers migration program. The submission attaches as ISSAvOMARA (below) the OMARA sanction decision, the Law Society search results confirming that I continue to practice as a solicitor and the Daily Telegraph article of 20 October 2014, headed Migration Agent Banned After Coaching Clients to be Gay at home of mardi gras.  

ISAAvOMARA.pdf

Of course, I appealed this unsubstantiated finding of the OMARA decision at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) and a decision was HANDED DOWN ON 3 JULY 2017, TOTALLY EXONERATNG ME OF ALL THE FRAUD ALLEGATIONS. The only adverse findings was that I had breached certain provisions of the migration agents code of conduct, which bizarrely led the AAT affirm the OMARA decision. Inexplicably, the submission by Ms Angela Julian Armitage, totally ignores the AAT findings, which totally exonerates me of all the allegations of fraud.

The article by Ms Angela Julian-Armitage was written on 1 September 2017 and sent to the Committee Secretary Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee, still referring to the fraud findings of OMARA and arguing the case for ongoing duel regulation of solicitors , despite being totally exonerated of all fraud allegations by the AAT approximately two months earlier. This is total madness. Not only has this article totally defamed me but has mislead parliament. I have done a search of Ms Angela Julian –Armitage and discovered that not only was she the former President of the NT and QLD MIA but also a practicing barrister.

This article is designed to mislead parliament and was sent by an organisation which purportedly represents hundreds if not thousands of registered migration agents.

I have sent the attached letter to the Migration Institute of Australia, requesting that they take down defamatory and misleading article the article and formally apologizing to the Australian parliament acknowledging that they had mislead parliament and to offer the Parliamentary senate Committee an unreserved apology.

I have not heard from Ms Angela Julian-Armitage nor from the MIA.

I have instructed my lawyers to begin defamation proceedings and will be filing a formal complaint against ms Angela Julian -Armitage with the Queensland Bar association.

 

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  • Guest
    Another Lawyer Friday, 12 January 2018

    Outrageous if that is the case, MIA should just be arguing against prohibition and for optional registration, not compulsory. Migration law isn't that special, thats why they created agents in the first place, similiar to conveyancers. Now we are stuck with prohibition thanks to too much focus on compulsory.

    Will MA take up the fight for optional registration?

  • Guest
    Cynic Friday, 12 January 2018

    Compulsory allows them to charge more people membership fees and sell them all more CPD.

  • Dot Wulff
    Dot Wulff Friday, 12 January 2018

    I've only been an RMA since 2010, but the attitude and smugness of MIA has never appealed to me. I never attend MIA CPD, but have come across Ms Angela Julian-Armitage at DIBP Roadshows organised by MIA. Not the type of person who represents me as an agent, why and I would never become a member.

  • Guest
    Marky Friday, 12 January 2018

    As peak bodies of migration agent, should we focus on represent members' interest rather than civil war?

    It is shame to not be able to persuade enough for the deregulation of lawyers for the benefits of migration agents while peak bodies fight each other at this critical time.

    I am not in favor of either peak body, but the war should end now and find resolution to solve whatever issues you have and then voice strongly for migration agents please.

    I hope my comment will not be censored.

  • Guest
    Dismayed Monday, 15 January 2018

    I believe that our fight should be against the politicians who are using migration issues as a means to get re-elected. I personally believe that Liberal lost its foothold in WA, because Labor effectively created a scare campaign to woo voters to side with their agendas to keep jobs in WA. Perth lost its regional status and Labor won the election. Has jobs been created since then?
    I think not. If you have been in the education industry long enough, you would be aware that this is a 28 billion dollar industry in annual education exports for Australia. One of the major reasons for completing studies in Australia for international students, is mainly due to the pathways available for migration after the student completes their studies. With the new changes currently imposed (and more to come), I am seeing a shift in this industry and will see a reduction in this sector as well as graduate migrants. What does this mean? With less students, that means more reduction in staff being employed in this sector. When you have unemployment increasing in this sector, consumer spending will then decrease. Schools may end up closing and more people will be unemployed.

    I do not believe that keeping migrants out will create jobs in Australia and most employers can agree that there are many who cannot find decent Australian workers. Instead of changing policies to makes things more difficult, maybe MIA and MA should fight for their members to be more harsh on agents or lawyers who are caught defrauding the system (justly prosecuted of course).

    I am aware of an agent, that purposefully used a student visa to create a fake study pathway to manufacture a visa period for work purposes rather than actual studies. The agent actually owned the school and assisted students to appeal as soon as they were refused their visas. The agent will end up not submitting any documents, but collect fees of $5000+ per appeal. In the end this agent was sanctioned (only 5 years), but there is no real justice for the many students she had already cheated (her sanctioned was only based on 3 reported incidents). The agent also taught other greedy unethical agents to send potential candidates to her and thought them how to manufacture this process to establish time in Australia for work purposes, often taking cash payments (no tax to pay) and working in excess of 50+ hours per week.

    Stop fighting each other and start to stand for your members who are struggling to gain clients during these turbulent times. Stop allowing our politicians to use migration issues to get elected and stand for truth. Our system is broken and there should be financial repercussion for practitioners who are caught with blatant breaches of the Code of Conduct (and I am referring to people who knowingly lie about the migration process to a client).

  • Guest
    Sam issa Friday, 12 January 2018

    I think the MIA has a lot to answer in their blatant attempt to mislead parliament....thisn Is serious stuff.....especially comming forma barrister at law.. .crazy stuff...defaming me and attempting to mislead parliament........wow...

  • Guest
    Issam Sam-Issa Monday, 15 January 2018

    Please find below formal complaint that was submitted to the Queensland Legal Services Commissioner against Mr Julian-Armitage.

    Queensland Legal Service Commission

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    I wish to submit a formal complaint about the conduct of Ms Angel Julian-Armitage, Barrister-at-Law.

    I attach herewith Section A-compliant Information for your urgent consideration.

    It has recently come to my attention that Ms Julian-Armitage, acting in the capacity as the president of Northern Territory and Queensland Branches of the Migration Institute of Australia (MIA), sent the attached submission, dated, 1 September 2107, to the Federal Parliament, Committee Secretary Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee, who are currently considering the issue of duel regulation of solicitors with respect to immigration advise. In her submission, Ms Julian-Armitage strongly propounds the case that the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority and not the various state Law society’s are best place to offer consumer protection in the complex area of immigration advise and that solicitors should remain regulated by the OMARA. The submission notes my matter Issa v OMARA, as to why solicitors who have been struck off my OMARA but continue to practice as a solicitor, as the perfect example as to why OMARA offers the best form of consumer protection as I had been found by OMARA to have engaged in immigration fraud.

    The parliamentary submission, attaches the OMARA decision record (sanction record), as well as newspaper article by the Daily Telegraph, dated October 20, 2014. The parliamentary submission is dated 1 September 2017, and although the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) made a finding in 3 July 2017, totally exonerating me of all fraud findings by the OMARA, peculiarly, this finding of fact by a tribunal is completed omitted from the submission.

    Please also note that the fraud findings that were made by OMARA against me were also investigated and dismissed by Professional standards of the NSW Law Society in December 2016.

    I submit that the parliamentary submission is clearly designed to mislead the Federal Parliamentary Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee, as it portrays me as a person who has engaged in an blatant attempt to rort the asylum seekers program, yet continues to practice as a solicitor, despite the earlier AAT findings.

    I have attached the AAT decision, dated 3 July 2017, which was not referred to in the parliamentary submission.

    I seek urgent consideration of this complaint.

    Kind regards
    Sam Issa
    Solicitor

    encl: COMPLAINT FORM AND EVIDENCE

  • Guest
    Sam Tuesday, 16 January 2018

    I can’t see Ms Julian-Armitage misleading or making any reference to fraud, but rather breaches of the code of conduct? And I agree that this infighting between MA and the MIA is getting tiring. I also don’t agree with the change in regulation for the for the profession - lawyers offering migration advice should be subject to the same code of conduct as non lawyers giving immigration advice. I believe her point is that if an individual has been barred by OMARA from giving immigration assistance, they can now continue to practice anyway if they also hold a practicing certificate. Doesn’t do anything to increase consumer protections.

  • Guest
    Sam issa Tuesday, 16 January 2018

    Obviously...you have not read the submssion

  • Guest
    Sam Wednesday, 17 January 2018

    I did actually. It quoted some wording from the OMARA and AAT records but did not accuse you of fraud. It also referenced the AAT decision outcome from September.

  • Guest
    RTS Wednesday, 17 January 2018

    A few points:
    1) I do not believe that the MA's "Australian Immigration Daily News" is the appropriate forum to air such dirty laundry;
    2) I agree with a previous post that the infighting between MA and the MIA is getting tiring and does not help the Industry’s already bad perception;
    3) I also don’t agree with the change in regulation for the profession. Lawyers offering migration advice should be subject to the same code of conduct as non lawyers giving immigration advice and continue to require registration with OMARA;
    4) The general point raised in the submission is still valid as the tribunal affirmed the decision to cancel the Agent’s Registration.

  • Guest
    Sam issa Wednesday, 17 January 2018

    Yes the AAT affirmed the decision to cancel the registration but completely exonerated me of fraud allegations . The point is why did she have to annex the telegraph article which stated that i was found to have fabricated pv claims in her submssion and also stated that i was found to have rorted the asylum seekers system....that was not the ultimate finding of the AAT...the trinunal made no such findings about my conduct..The submssion should have atleast stated the fact that i was exonerated by the AAT well as the professional standaeds of the NSW Law Society......both the NSW Law Society and the AAT dissmisse these unsubstantiated allegations..Only Omara made findings that I was guilty of fraud. Thank God for the NSW Law Society and the AAT..Omara are an incompetent body who should.not regulate anyone...solicitors should regulated only by the Various law societies because they' are competent bodies who make proper disciplinary findings based on fact and the proper application of the law. The full facts should have been presented in the parliamnetary submssion without embellishment or omission of the facts as was the case......now.lets let the Office of the Queensland Legal Services Commissioner do it's job...shall we

  • Guest
    Michael Morrisroe Friday, 19 January 2018

    The Decision at paragraph 458 wraps up the essential problem.

    The Decision reads "Whilst I have endeavoured to take fully into account the positive views the various commenders expressed about Mr Issa’s integrity, they in no sense contradict the findings I have made in relation to Mr Issa’s numerous Code breaches. Those breaches were sustained and serious. They reflected, in my view, a grave disregard of the Code obligations."

    From my reading of the facts as recapitulated in the Decision, the Decision is correct. Without commenting on this particular Decision, I would suggest that the Code itself is the problem.

    The Code is a genuinely flawed document which is predisposed against the business activities of all RMAs. The Decision threw out what we would all consider the serious substantive charges, but the Code is a spider's web of technical threads woven by administrators—and the MIA—to justify what are often subjective opinions of MARA. The Code is too easy to breach in relatively trivial ways. It is one of the worst pieces of administrative law that we have in this country.
    You have a long road ahead of you in fighting this outcome and in fighting any defamation action; and while I applaud your energy, I fear the outcome may not be worth the struggle.

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