Frequently Asked Questions
We invite you to give us the opportunity to address your case and the possible solutions even if you do not end up retaining us. We do not ask you to choose us. We ask you to choose the right Migration Agent. Whether that is us or someone else is irrelevant.
We charge for our initial consultation because we want serious clients who know of us and trust us before they come in. If you have to pay for something, you will spend much more time looking into it, qualifying it and determining whether it is worth the money or whether you really need it. We want you to do that with us. Because that is where a good agent/client relationship starts. We do not need to or want to give incentives such as a free consultation to lure clients into retaining us. Our quality of advice and work should do that job which again are ingredients to successful cases and good relationships.
By law, all persons acting as migration agents in Australia must be registered with the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (the Office of the MARA). Registered migration agents must meet competency standards, keep their knowledge of migration law and procedure up to date by completing Continuing Professional Development (CPD) activities, and abide by a Code of Conduct. Registered migration agents must have the Code of Conduct clearly displayed in their offices and make a copy of it available on request.
You don’t have to use a migration agent to apply for a visa but if you do, you should use a registered migration agent.
Registered migration agents must keep up-to-date with current laws and procedures. Only registered migration agents can give you immigration assistance.
Immigration assistance is:
- help to prepare a visa application
- providing advice to a visa applicant about their application
- helping prepare a document in connection with the sponsorship of a visa applicant, or to advise the sponsor
- preparing for proceedings, before a court or a merits review tribunal such as the Administrative Appeals Tribunals, or representing someone at those proceedings
- helping to prepare a request to the Minister to exercise certain powers under the Migration Act in relation to a visa applicant
No migration agent can:
- influence the outcome
- fast-track the processing period
- guarantee you a visa
Registered Migration Agents and Lawyers are authorised to certify your documents if you bring your original documents to our office.
Only registered migration agents may receive a fee or reward for providing ‘immigration assistance’ at the ATT.
A lawyer can give assistance or provide representation in the context of legal proceedings before a court (known as ‘immigration legal assistance’). However, with the exception of certain Legal Aid solicitors, a lawyer acting in a professional capacity can only give ‘immigration assistance’ to persons before the tribunal if they are also a Registered Migration Agent.
All of the Easy Migration Services Registered Migration Agents are also Lawyers.
In Australia, Migration Agents must be registered with the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA). In Australia it is illegal, apart from a few exemptions, to give migration advice unless you are registered. If you don’t use a Registered Migration Agent, you may receive poor advice.
Migrating to Australia is a complex process, and a Registered Migration Agent can assist you with finding out which pathway suits you. There are more than 100 different visa subclasses, which can prove extremely difficult to navigate.
Making a complaint about your Registered Migration Agent will not affect your visa application.
If you are having problems with a Registered Migration Agent that you are unable to resolve, you can make a complaint to the Office of the MARA. The OMARA can only consider complaints against registered migration agents.
Migration agents operating outside Australia are not required to be registered with the OMARA.
If their conduct is unethical or unprofessional, report them to our nearest overseas office.
If you decide you want professional help, use an agent registered with the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority(OMARA).
If you don’t feel confident in submitting an application, or if your case is complex, you may want to use a Registered Migration Agent.
Registered migration agents are the only people allowed to provide immigration help for a fee.
Use the searchable list of all agents registered in Australia at OMARA. The list includes agents working outside of Australia.
There are no set fees for using a Registered Migration Agent, so you should always make sure that you understand exactly how much you will be charged.
Visa application fees are set by the Australian government and can be found on www.homeaffairs.gov.au
Under the Code of Conduct for Registered Migration Agents, the amount your agent charges (fees) must be fair and reasonable. Your agent will set their fee based on your circumstances.
Agent fees vary and depend on:
- your visa application type
- the amount of time it will take to prepare your application. Some visa applications take longer to prepare than others
- the level of service you need
- if you need extra help or have complex circumstances. For example your agent might charge more if you have dependents on your application (such as children).
- the experience and qualifications of your agent. If your agent is a lawyer or has many years of experience, their fees might be higher. If your agent’s fees seem too high, discuss this with them before signing a contract.
Before starting work, your Registered Migration Agent must provide you with an Agreement for Services and Fees. If you accept any financial terms, it must be in writing. The agreement must include:
- a list of the services to be performed by the agent
- fees for the services (either charged per service or per hour)
- disbursements (money paid by the agent on your behalf, such as a visa application charge).
Do not pay your agent until you have read, understood and agreed to the Agreement for Services and Fees.
Your agent must give you written notice of any change to the amount they will charge for providing you with services. Your agent has to do this as soon as they become aware of the change (for example, extra work your agent did not know about when they agreed to work for you).
Your agent must not carry out work for you in a way that unnecessarily increases the cost of the work, for example by seeking advice from specialists when not needed.
There are three categories of advisers that may provide migration assistance to clients. There are:
- A Registered Migration Agent (“RMA”)
Under Australian Law, with the exception of a sponsor, a close family member, a member of parliament or a government official providing assistance as part of their job, only a RMA may provide what is called immigration assistance.
A RMA cannot provide immigration legal assistance.
- Lawyers who are not registered as Migration Agents
Generally, lawyers who are not registered as Migration Agents can give some immigration legal assistance but cannot give immigration assistance.
- Lawyers who are also Registered Migration Agents.
Lawyers who are also Registered Migration Agents can do all of the above. They can provide immigration assistance, immigration legal assistance and advice about both.
This means that a lawyer who is also an RMA can prepare your documents, act on your behalf in court or before the tribunal and provide you with advice in relation to all matters immigration.
While a non-lawyer Migration Agent may be able to provide immigration assistance, they are not able to provide legal advice, and are often unaware of the legal implications related to their client’s circumstances. Immigration matters often have other inherent or associated issues that must be considered, including tax law, family law, employment law, property law, commercial law and criminal law. A non-lawyer Migration Agent cannot provide advice around these issues and in fact is prohibited from so doing.
Ethical Standards, Regulation and Professional Conduct
While all RMAs are required to comply with the OMARA Code of Conduct, lawyers who are RMAs are also required to comply with the ethical and professional standards expected of a legal practitioner and an Officer of the Court. This means that lawyers who are RMAs are effectively subjected to dual regulation and the scrutiny of two regulatory bodies.
Legal Professional Privilege (Confidentiality)
While both RMAs and lawyers are professionally required to keep their clients’ affairs confidential, only lawyers may claim the protection of legal professional privilege for their clients.
Legal professional privilege is a protection that exists for the clients of lawyers which keeps the communications between lawyers and clients confidential in most situations, including against a Subpoena from a Court.
The clients of non-lawyer Migration Agents simply do not have that protection. Only lawyers cannot be forced to give up confidential information.