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Monday, 15 September 2003
Page: 20119


Mr Laurie Ferguson asked the Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, upon notice, on 12 August 2003:

(1) How many (a) fee-charging and (b) non-fee charging migration agents were registered with the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA) as at 30 June 1998 and at the end of each subsequent financial year.

(2) For each year since MARA's establishment, how many (a) initial and (b) repeat applications did it receive from (c) fee-charging and (d) non-fee charging agents and how many such applications were approved or rejected.

(3) How many formal complaints has MARA received to date and how many of these cases has it finalised.

(4) In respect of finalised cases, how many resulted in (a) a finding that the agent had committed no breach of the Code of Conduct, (b) no further action being taken for other reasons, (c) the complaint being discontinued because the agent sought to be removed from the register or did not apply for reregistration, (d) the matter being referred to DIMIA to investigate possible offences committed by the agent, (e) the matter being referred to State legal services bodies for possible disciplinary action against a lawyer agent, (f) a caution being imposed on an agent, (h) the agent's registration being suspended, and (i) the agent's registration being cancelled.

(5) What is the average period of time in weeks that it took MARA to finalise complaints in 1998-99 and each subsequent year.


Mr Hardgrave (Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(d) (a) and (b)

Financial Year

Commercial

Non-commercial

Total

30 June 1998

2145

409

2554

30 June 1999

1826

384

2210

30 June 2000

1909

271

2180

30 June 2001

2175

254

2429

30 June 2002

2503

270

2773

30 June 2003

2813

271

3084

Notes:

1. The MARA commenced operation on 23 March 1998. On 1 July 2000 the terms “fee-charging” and “non-fee charging” were removed and replaced with “Commercial or for profit basis” and “non-commercial or non-profit basis” by the Migration Agents Registration Application Charge Amendment Regulations 2000 (No. 1) 2000 No. 65. Some non-commercial agents operate with organisations which have charged a small administrative fee to visa applicants.

(2)

(c) Commercial for Profit

Financial Year

(a) Initial Registration

(b) Repeat Registration

Received

Approved

Refused

Received

Approved

Refused

30 June 1998

67

174

1

564

560

0

30 June 1999

369

363

3

1419

1227

1

30 June 2000

485

443

2

1529

1652

6

30 June 2001

524

520

2

1640

1616

4

30 June 2002

631

605

9

1923

1882

12

30 June 2003

717

624

8

2246

2075

15

(d) Non-commercial not for profit

Financial Year

(a) Initial Registration

(b) Repeat Registration

Received

Approved

Refused

Received

Approved

Refused

30 June 1998

3

15

0

119

99

0

30 June 1999

74

67

12

326

334

0

30 June 2000

71

61

4

263

248

5

30 June 2001

76

68

0

225

214

8

30 June 2002

70

72

3

207

200

8

30 June 2003

55

53

2

216

210

3

Notes:

1. Figures for 30 June 1998 incorporate applications received by the former Migration Agents Registration Board which were passed on to the MARA for processing.

2. Approval and refusal figures for any given year may include decisions on registration applications received in the previous year.

(3) From 21 March 1998 to 13 August 2003, the MARA received 1,697 complaints and 25 complaints were re-opened. Of these 1,722 complaints, 1,231 had been finalised as at 13 August 2003.

(4)

(a)

Complaints marked No Further Action because of “no breach”

354

(b)

No Further Action being taken for other reasons

440

(c)

Complaints where agent withdrew name from register

51

Complaints where agent did not apply for re-registration

70

Other Complaint Finalisations

26

Complaints where agent died during investigation (1)

Complaints where agent was refused registration (10)

Complaints where agent was cancelled on other complaints during the investigation of the complaint (15)

(d)

Matter referred to DIMIA for investigation

206

(e)

Matter referred to State legal services bodies

5

(f)

Complaints resulting in a caution being imposed

18

(h)

Complaints that ended in a suspension

24

(i)

Complaints that ended in a cancellation

37

Total

1,231

Notes:

1. With regard to (a), the MARA did not track the finding of “no breach” prior to July 2002, so the figure quoted includes an estimate of 255 “no further actions due to no breach” between 21 March 1998 to 30 June 2002.

(5)

Average time to finalise complaints

Received Financial Year

Weeks

1998 - 1999

55

1999 - 2000

73

2000 - 2001

44

2001 - 2002

33

2002 - 2003

16

Notes:

1. The average number of weeks is calculated from the date each complaint was received until finalised.

2. Figures exclude complaints that were for unregistered practice (ie MARA refers these to DIMIA).

3. Figures calculated as at 13 August 2003 and are subject to change as complaints received in a given Financial Year continue to be finalised. There were 491 complaints still open on 13 August 2003.