Using Registered Agent
Australia’s migration laws are complex and are subject to frequent changes. If an applicant is not sure about the correct procedures or required documentation or if a case is not trivial, they may appoint an agent to assist with the process. An RMA can provide an up-to-date information, advise on current requirements and can deal with the department and other agencies on clients’ behalf.
Services that are regarded as immigration assistance
- Preparation of a visa application
- Advice about a visa application
- Preparation of sponsorship documents
- Preparation for proceedings before a court or merits review tribunal
- Preparation of a request for Ministerial intervention
Registration provides protection to consumers in case of disputes and ensures that agents meet regulatory standards and have adequate qualifications, knowledge and insurance. RMA must also meet the continuing professional development (CPD) requirement and complete CPD activities each year. In addition, they must maintain an up-to-date professional library with direct access to:
- Australian Government Acts including Migration Act 1958
- Australian Government Regulations including Migration Regulations 1994
- Other legislation relating to migration procedures including Legislative instruments
- Portfolio policies and procedures including Procedures Advice Manual (PAM) used by the department
Doing It Yourself
The department accepts all applications regardless of who lodges them. Anyone is able to apply for a visa themselves and there is no requirement to use an agent.
- Application forms
- Documents checklists
- Visa Wizards
- Information Booklets
- Contact Details
- Close family members
- Sponsors and nominators
- Parliamentarians and their staff
- Officials whose duties include provision of immigration assistance
- Members of diplomatic missions or international organisations
Although, the information on the website is quite comprehensive and well structured, it is only intended as a basic guide to migration laws and it does not address the complexities of individual circumstances. According to the website’s conditions of use, the department accepts no responsibility for the completeness or accuracy of any of the information and suggests to seek independent advice.
The main advantage of “Doing It Yourself” approach is cost savings. However, people need to consider the complicacy of their case and make a decision based on their personal circumstances.
Using Other Operators
People need to be careful of using unlawful operators pretending to be RMAs as they have limited knowledge of immigration law and procedures and may take money without providing any service. Unregistered agents need to be reported to the Department of Home Affairs through the Border Watch online report.
There are many risks of using a person who is not registered with the OMARA, including inaccurate or misleading advice, misplaced or missing documents, financial or time losses and provision of incorrect information to the department. These risks may ultimately lead to visa refusals or cancellations and may prevent people from applying for other visas.