LCA Immigration Lawyers
What deregulation means for lawyers?
The Law Council of Australia is pleased to announce that Australian legal practitioners are no longer subject to regulation by the Office of the Migration Agents’ Registration Authority (OMARA) due to legislation that came into effect on 22 March 2021.
This legislative development means that people seeking advice about their visa options and their visa applications, or a review of their case by the Migration and Refugee Division of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, can use the services of lawyers who are not migration agents.
Until 22 March 2021, lawyers who were also registered as migration agents were listed in the register of migration agents on the Australian government’s OMARA website. From 22 March 2021, Australian legal practitioners will no longer be found on the OMARA website (except for a limited class of lawyers with restricted practising certificates for a limited transitional period).
The Law Council of Australia is working with the state and territory law societies and bar associations to ensure that those people wishing to find a migration lawyer will be able to readily do so now that lawyers are no longer on the OMARA website.
For more information about deregulation of lawyers, see the Department of Home Affairs website, or the factsheet from the Law Institute of Victoria.
Further information regarding how to find a lawyer will become available on the website of the Law Council of Australia in the near future.
How to find a migration lawyer?
In Australia, lawyers are regulated by authorities in their states and territories. To find out information about lawyers in each state and territory, people need to go to the law societies and bar associations in each state and territory. The Law Council of Australia is working with the law societies and bar associations to create links on the Law Council’s website to useful information on how to find migration lawyers which will be available on this site in the near future.
Information for lawyers
Information from the Australian Government - Department of Home Affairs
From 22 March 2021, amendments to the Migration Act 1958 will commence, allowing an Australian legal practitioner (lawyer) to provide immigration assistance in connection with legal practice. This means that a lawyer may provide immigration assistance without being a registered migration agent (RMA).
These changes are as a result of the Migration Amendment (Regulation of Migration Agents) Act 2020 which also requires the removal of lawyers from the regulatory scheme administered by the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (OMARA).
For those lawyers who were previously an RMA who intend to resume providing immigration assistance from commencement of the new legislation on 22 March 2021, transitional arrangements have been developed to enable lawyers who are no longer RMAs to access ImmiAccount.
The transitional period is from 22 March to November 2021.
During the transitional period lawyers can use their former MARN as a temporary lawyer ID number to access ImmiAccount. Lawyers can use their former MARN for this purpose until such time as a new unique identifier number is provided by the Department of Home Affairs (the Department). This is expected to be in place November 2021.
On 22 March 2021, a new form 956 Appointment of a registered migration agent, legal practitioner or exempt person will be available on the Home Affairs website to allow the holder of an ALPC to advise the Department of Home Affairs that they have been appointed by a client (e.g. a visa applicant) to provide immigration assistance under the Migration Act 1958 and, if applicable, to receive documents on their behalf.
From 22 March 2021 the Home Affairs website will include a new tab titled ‘Using a legal practitioner’. From this page lawyers can download and complete the new form 1548 ‘Application for an Australian Legal Practitioner Number’ (LPN). The form 1548 will ask for a MARN – lawyers can provide their former MARN.
Lawyers should then email the completed form 1548 with a copy of their practising certificates to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The lawyer will receive a response from the email@example.com mailbox with advice that their details have been updated and how they can access ImmiAccount. These procedures will be available on the Home Affairs website from 22 March 2021.