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Price calls for tighter regulation of migrant agents.



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Media Release

 

ROGER PRICE MP

Federal Member for Chifley

 

PO Box 259 Mt Druitt NSW 2770

 

For immediate release

 

PRICE CALLS FOR TIGHTER REGULATION OF MIGRATION AGENTS

 

Speaking in Parliament today on the Migration Legislation Amendment (Migration Agents) Bill, Roger Price MP, Federal Member for Chifley, called for tighter regulations on the practices of migration agents.

 

“I handle a substantial number of migration cases through my office, approximately eighty per cent of my office's caseload, and through my experiences I can recount many tales of exploitation by migration agents towards their clients", said Mr Price.

 

"Clients find themselves in a very vulnerable position when approaching migration agents for assistance. The majority of clients do not understand the way in which the migration system works, and usually hold very poor English language and communication skills, and thus they represent easy pickings for unscrupulous migration agents after some easy money".

 

Mr Price called on the Law Society to regulate the actions of solicitors practising in the migration field, as solicitors make up 40% of all migration agents, and are responsible for 38% of complaints made to the regulating body, the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA).

 

“If solicitors act in an unprofessional or unethical manner, albeit in either providing incorrect advice or over-charging their clients, the Law Society will discipline the persons involved. This is not happening in regards to solicitors acting as migration agents, who seem to be escaping any form of discipline or punishment when exploiting innocent people", said Mr Price.

 

"MARA only have jurisdiction over registered migration agents, and the most they can do to discipline wrongdoers is cancel their registration. Approximately seventy per cent of migration agents are not registered".

 

“There is an urgent need for greater consumer protection in the migration advice industry, and greater regulation of the actions of migration agents, particularly solicitors practising in the field".

 

“As a result of the abuse of the system by migration agents, and their exploitation of vulnerable persons, I have instructed my office not to deal with cases which are being handled by migration agents, and not to forward any requests for Ministerial discretion to the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs in cases where the applicant has no chance of success and the process is used simply to prolong their stay. I am extremely pleased that my comments and the measures I have adopted in my office have been welcomed and commended by the Minister responsible, the Hon. Philip Ruddock MP”, said Mr Price.

 

“I will continue to act in the best interests of my constituents. as I have always done, but it is about time that migration agents are stood up to. Migration agents should be more accountable for their actions, and further reform is required in order to ensure that vulnerable persons are not exploited by unscrupulous operators, concluded Mr Price.

 

ENDS.

 

Media Contact: Roger Price MP

Phone: 02 6277 4872 (Parliament House) 02 9625 4344 (Electorate Office)

 

9th December 1999

 

 

PS: IF YOU WOULD LIKE A COPY OF MY SPEECH PLEASE DO NOT HESITATE TO CONTACT MY OFFICE TOMORROW MORNING.

 

 

rw  1999-12-13  11:46