+1-800-997-1228
Questions & Answers

What is the difference between a registered migration agent and an immigration lawyer?

I am interested in the Australian Business and Investor visa, but I am confused on who to seek out to help with my application. What are migration agents and how do they differ from lawyers?

Answers

  • Avatar

    Doris Dengel

    Australia Registered Migration Agent
    Answered on

    Even though migration agents have to undertake legal studies, they only do so for migration law. Therefore, their studies are less extensive than those of a lawyer. Unless you have a particularly complex case, migration agents are fully qualified to assist with your Australian visa inquiry.

  • Avatar

    Karola Steffi

    Australia Registered Migration Agent
    Answered on

    Not a difference between them regarding aiding with Australian Visa applicants; both Migration Agents and Lawyers have Bachelor Degrees, whereby Migration Agents have also a Postgraduate Degree (Diploma) in Migration Law and Practice. Lawyers by the merit of having a Law Degree do not need to study any Migration Law and Practice and can be registered to give Immigration Assistance. Please note, when choosing a Migration Agent or Immigration Lawyer, it is important to understand whether either entity has experience in Business/Investor Visas and how long they have been giving Migration/Visa assistance. You can tell by their MARN number. For example, if the MARN starts with 09, 14, the person has been practicing since 2009, 2014, etc.

  • Avatar

    Ali Shahami

    Australia Registered Migration Agent
    Answered on

    To be eligible to give advice on Australian Migration matters, you need to be registered with Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA). Both migration agents and migration lawyers are accredited to provide you on Australian visas if they are registered by MARA.

  • Avatar

    Lisa De Leon

    Australia Registered Migration Agent
    Answered on

    A registered migration agent is someone who has passed the requirements to become registered with the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (a division of the Department of Immigration). Currently, this is the Graduate Certificate in Australian Immigration Law and Practice which is offered at only 4 universities around Australia. Each year, in order to become re-registered, a registered migration must accumulate 10 Continuing Professional Development points through attendance at workshops and seminars or completion of private study modules. Previously, there have been lawyers who were also registered migration agents. They have studied to obtain a Bachelor of Law degree and then completed the Graduate Certificate and were registered with the Law Council as well as MARA. However, there will soon be a change to legislation to remove the requirement for fully qualified lawyers to also be registered as RMA''s in order to give migration advice. This will mean that lawyers will be able to give migration advice in the course of their legal practice, even though they have not completed a specialized study in migration law. The law course covers most areas of law but does not provide a detailed study of the Migration Act or Migration Regulations. You can tell the experience/quality of a registered migration agent by their MARN (migration agent registration number) - the first two digits identify the year they first became registered. After the new legislation is passed a lawyer will no longer have a MARN number and it will not be possible to tell how experienced they are in the field of migration law. I hope this has helped to clarify the distinction between the two titles.

  • Avatar

    Mark Welch

    Australia Registered Migration Agent
    Answered on

    In Australia, individuals who provide immigration advice must be registered to provide that advice as a Migration Agent with the Migration Agents Registration Authority. There are two pathways to becoming a Migration Agent. An Australian lawyer can seek registration as a Migration Agent or an individual can obtain immigration specific qualifications, generally in the form of a Post Graduate qualification in immigration, which enables him or her to become registered as a Migration Agent. In addition to certain qualifications, Migration Agents must hold professional indemnity insurance and meet Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements. In choosing who to represent you, it is essential that the individual is a registered Migration Agent and ideally has experience in the visa categories you are eligible for. An agent with a wide range of experience will be in a better position to assess you against all available visa categories.

Add your comment

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment.