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10 REASONS WHY UNREGISTERED PEOPLE SHOULD BE PREVENTED FROM LODGING AUSTRALIAN VISA APPLICATIONS ON BEHALF OF VISA APPLICANTS

Written by:

JUSTIN RICKARD B.A LL.B M.A (Syd.) M.M.I.A

Australian lawyer* # 11272 (N.S.W) & Registered Migration Agent # 9790625

For those of us who have committed to learning and becoming Australian registered migration agents, we have joined a relatively new profession, yet one with clear values and ethics embedded in an enforceable legal code of conduct.  We want to genuinely help our clients achieve what they need or want, which is to legally migrate to Australia.

However, common doubts about our very existence as respected professionals and legitimate business people (or non-profit service providers), will always arise and develop if the Australian government continues to allow unregistered people to lodge Australian visa applications on behalf of visa applicants. The following 10 reasons demonstrate why:

1.    Keeps fees low and creates unfair competition – most unregistered agents are not bound and could not care less about any standards except making money. For them increasing value is irrelevant. They make clients wonder why registered agents like us do not charge less than them. After all, if we’re good at what we do, clients expect us to charge more than our competition.

2.    They attract clients who know the price of everything and the value of nothing

3.    They damage the reputation of registered migration agents by undermining our credibility, almost inevitably lying and defaming us just because they can

4.    They damage the reputation of Australia and Australians as a civilised country with a long established rule of law and a national commitment to the highest levels of excellence in all we do internationally

5.    Unregistered people who are paid to lodge visa applications on behalf of others undermine registered migration agents as a profession & lower us to their level as nothing more than a money making industry. “A profession is something a little more than a job, it is a career for someone that wants to be part of society, who becomes competent in their chosen sector through training; maintains their skills through continuing professional development (CPD); and commits to behaving ethically, to protect the interests of the public” cf. http://www.totalprofessions.com/more-about-professions/what-is-a-profession (accessed 26/8/14)

6.    They lessen the chances of success for visa applicants, as they will not have access to all the latest laws, regulations, policies and professional know how and therefore will not use these in their applications. This means applications will fail, visa applicants will give up on Australia and bad mouth our great country and our profession by thinking incorrectly that we are the same as the unregistered “agents”.

7.    Allowing unregistered agents provides opportunities for unscrupulous, fraudulent and even criminal people to participate in the migration process, both as “agents” and visa applicants. This is outrageous and dangerous for everyone involved, especially genuine Australian visa applicants. We do not want criminals and fraudsters anywhere near us.

8.    Lives are always endangered when unscrupulous, fraudulent and even criminal people are involved in anything. We only have to remember the unauthorised boat arrivals and their drowning to know this is a fate we would not wish on anyone.

9.    They slow down visa processing because documents are not prepared properly, if at all and fraud and deception can be rife at every stage of an application. The inevitable result of this is that visa application fees will rise even further. When that happens we all know what the next step is – the fees we can charge clients may have to drop as they do not have unlimited money for their migration process themselves.

10. Such unregistered “agents” increase Australian Embassy & DIBP distrust of migration advisers generally. Having been practising migration law myself for over 22 years since early 1992, I know from bitter experience that the Australian government has a well-established tendency to already hold registered migration agents in low regard. They are more than likely to group us in with the unregistered ones and then think even worse of us. This can only make our work more difficult than it already is. Who wants that? Not me.

Australian registered migration agents want to genuinely help our clients achieve legal migration which benefits both them and Australia. We can only help our country, ourselves and our clients by doing all we can to prevent unregistered people from lodging Australian visa applications on behalf of visa applicants.

Over 500 agents have signed a petition to Scott Morrison MP and Michaelia Cash MP to stop allowing receipt of applications from unregistered agents.  Sign the petition now to show your support for this cause.

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Comments

  • Guest
    Anon Tuesday, 26 August 2014

    I think if you take the subjectiveness out of the points above, you'll have a better agurment.

    My quick facts

    Overseas unregistered agents are not forced to comply with the same laws applicable in Australia. This is damaging to the reputation of RMA's.

    They gain clients at the expense of busines that could be given to RMA's, thus discouraging RMA's to even want to compete in the same market place. This is money which could be returned to Australia through taxs, fees, employment and insurance that RMA's are oblidged to pay for. Unregistered are not.

    They can process, lie, cheat, be fraudulent to anyone applicant they like, with no recourse for the client.

    By not having laws to stop this, it encourages black market and fraudulent activities. The DIAC website offers advise to consumers saying beware of fraudulent activities. If it was an illegal practice and DIAC does not accept these applications, then the fraudulent trade would be erased immediately.

    RMA's must ensure by code of conduct to be honest and truthful, unregistered can act with fraudulent intentions including identity fraud which can jepordise Australias nationals security.

    I hope it helps.

  • Guest
    Another anon Wednesday, 27 August 2014

    When instigating changes, don't forget RMA who partner with overseas unregistered agents.

    The overseas unregistered agents will lodge the application under the RMA's number, but can and do lie, cheat, be fraudulent and act with relative impunity.

    I see this happening on a regular basis but OMARA does nothing to stop it.

  • Guest
    Maria Wednesday, 27 August 2014

    I know of some Migration Lawyers and RMA's from Australia who connive with people in the Philippines.

  • Liana - Allan
    Liana - Allan Wednesday, 27 August 2014

    Maria
    Then you have an avenue to fix the problem:
    1. www.themara.com.au

    Have you brought it up with the agent directly?
    Can you explain what you mean by conniving?

  • Guest
    Guest Thursday, 04 September 2014

    5 Reasons Why Unregistered Migration Agents Should NOT Be Prevented From Lodging Visa Applications From Overseas...

    ... and why the regulation of their work should more properly be dealt with by the country in which they work.

    1 - There are unregistered migration agents who have the same qualification as you do but who are prevented from registering, and who are even compelled to work overseas, because OMARA gets the law pertaining to the registration of migration agents wrong. See:

    OMARA Notice of Approved Activities, available at
    http://migrationalliance.com.au/immigration-daily-news/entry/2014-08-omara-notice-of-approved-activities.html

    Do you really want to punish such agents a second time by preventing all unregistered migration agents from lodging visa applications from overseas, without distinguishing between qualified and unqualified persons?

    2 - There are unregistered migration agents who have the same qualification as you do but who due to their personal circumstances (e.g. spouse on a secondment) work overseas.

    With a view to the exorbitant registration fees with hardly any service in return, can you blame such persons for not registering? Would you register if you didn't have to? I don't think so.

    3 - Unregistered migration agents do not benefit from being registered (the advertising effect of their registration) and incur significantly higher advertising costs.

    4 - The fact that an unregistered migration agent works overseas does not necessarily mean that he or she does not pay taxes in Australia - that depends on other factors such as the location of the principal office of his or her business, his or her usual residence and whether there exists a double tax agreement or not.

    5 - The fact that a migration agent is not registered with OMARA does not mean that his or her work is completely unregulated.

    Germany, for example, has issued an Act on the Protection of Emigrants (1975). Any person providing migration assistance must have a licence to do so.

    In order to obtain a licence, the person must provide evidence of his or her knowledge and understanding of the German legal system, in particular the Civil Code and the Social Code, as well as the legal system of the country concerned, in particular its immigration laws, citizenship laws, employment laws, social security laws, etc.

    The person must also provide evidence of his or her personal reliabilty (integrity), at least on the basis of a Police Check. There are further requirements, including the payment of the prescribed fee (Euro 150), but I trust that the afore mentioned requirements are sufficient to get the message accross:

    It would be unfair to prevent all unregistered migration agents from lodging visa applications from overseas without distinguishing between qualified and unqualified persons.

    The regulation of unregistered migration agents is more properly dealt with by the country in which they work.

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