Migration Agents Instruments Review
The submission to the Department of Home Affairs in response to the consultation report of the Migration Agents Instruments Review (Consultation Report) was prepared by the Migration Law Committee of the Federal Litigation and Dispute Resolution Section.
The committee supports strong and effective regulation of the migration advice sector to maintain the integrity of Australia’s immigration system and to protect the interests of consumers. The committee refers to its recommendations and suggestions provided in its original submission of 29 July 2020.
The committee takes this opportunity to provide additional feedback in relation to certain reform options addressed within Theme 3 of the Consultation Report concerning the proposed definition and scope of immigration assistance, particularly as it relates to citizenship matters and migration litigation.
The committee does not support the proposal in 126.96.36.199 of the Consultation Report to release a factsheet explaining the distinction between general advice and legal advice on matters under the Australian Citizenship Act 2007 (Cth) (Citizenship Act) – at least, not in the terms proposed in the Consultation Report.
If the Department does produce a factsheet relating to the assistance provided by registered migration agents (RMAs) in relation to the Citizenship Act it should:
- clarify what amounts to legal advice relating to the Citizenship Act and is thus unable to be provided by an RMA;
- provide information to consumers and RMAs on how they may obtain legal advice relating to the Citizenship Act; and
- provide links to relevant information published by the Department.
The committee does not support the proposal in 188.8.131.52 of the Consultation Report to retain a definition of immigration assistance that permits an RMA (unless they are a restricted legal practitioner) to offer immigration assistance in connection with court related work. Instead, the Committee recommends:
- amending subsections 276(1)(c), 276(1)(d) and 276(2)(c) of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) (Migration Act) so that it no longer defines ‘immigration assistance’ as ‘preparing for proceedings before a court’; and
- inserting a provision into the definition of ‘immigration assistance’ in section 276 of the Migration Act which clarifies that ‘nothing in this definition shall be construed as in any way permitting a person other than a lawyer to provide legal advice or services'.
You can read the full submissiom below.