System Message:

Former DIAC case officer / RMA sanctioned by OMARA for conduct breaches

Former DIAC case officer / RMA sanctioned by OMARA for conduct breaches

As migration agents know, registration with the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (OMARA) means that professionals are bound to abide by the Migration Agents Code of Conduct.

The fact that an Australian migration agent is registered with OMARA serves to prove that they are both responsible for providing qualified advice and assistance in a professional capacity.

Failing to meet these legislative obligations can result in the authority taking punitive actions, which, depending on the circumstances, may include revoking the right to act as a registered agent.

A recent case brought forward by OMARA has been brought about in response to a number of claims against a former agent to the effect that they did not act in the best interests of their clients.

The Professional Standards and Integrity Section of the registration office heard that the defendant had 11 separate complaints made against them while still registered.

In several cases the director of the division, Debra Radjenovic, was informed that the former agent may have misinformed a number of clients.

Subsequently, several migrants lodged official complaints against the defendant between April 2010 and March 2011.

The contents of these submissions varies widely, but mainly relate to supplying poor advice, slow reactions to lodgement requests and insufficient communication between the agent and clients to ensure that the migrants concerned were kept up to date on the status of their various applications.

In one case the former agent had pledged to lodge a submission with the DIAC and failed to do so, while in another the agent was said to have applied for various waivers and visas without the applicant's express knowledge or permission.

The poor communication and misinformation regarding applications was found to have caused the complainants a certain amount of hardship, both financial and personal, as time limits ran out and official documents expired while they waited for progress updates that never came.

After reviewing the evidence, Debra Radjenovic, made the decision to bar the former agent from registering with MARA for the maximum period of five years.

In the official judgement, the director states: "Based on the Former Agent’s attempts to re-register as a migration agent and the serious nature of her conduct, I consider that if the Former Agent was permitted to engage in migration practice in the future, she would pose a significant risk to consumers.

"I also note that the Former Agent has failed to cooperate with the Authority in its attempts to facilitate the return of client documents and to negotiate redress for her former clients."

Joomla SEF URLs by Artio