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Amendments to migration agent regulations.



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Senator Amanda Vanstone MINISTER FOR IMMIGRATION AND MULTICULTURAL AND INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS

Media Centre

Amendments to Migration Agent Regulations

VPS 074/2005

Minister for Immigration, Amanda Vanstone, announced a range of changes to regulations governing migration agents that will help protect clients.

‘New requirements will mean agents must hold Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII), disclose average fees charged, return documents to clients, use registration numbers in advertising and properly record of applications lodged against agents’ advice,’ the Minister said.

‘Requiring agents to hold PII will protect people using agents against negligent advice and give consumers affected by negligent or poor advice the opportunity to seek financial compensation,’ the Minister said.

‘PII will be required for agents in the commercial sector from 1 July 2005, with agents in the non-commercial sector given until 1 July 2006 to obtain suitable PII.

‘Requiring agents to disclose average fees means consumers can make an informed decision when selecting an agent and be confident they are not overcharged.

‘There has been anecdotal evidence of some migration agents charging thousands of dollars to assist someone lodge a simple visa application.

‘Agents will also be required to return documents used in support of applications for visas to their clients, if requested by the client. This covers a range of documents, including, but not limited to, passports, birth certificates, evidence of qualifications and photographs.

‘Requiring agents to clearly identify that they are registered agents and to publish their registration number in English and other languages when advertising will better protect consumers, particularly those from non-English speaking backgrounds, giving them confidence they are dealing with a registered agent.

‘The regulations also better protect agents where clients insist on lodging applications against an agent’s advice, agents will be required to properly record that they are acting solely on their client’s instructions.

‘These changes build upon earlier work done by the Immigration Department to ensure that those people most in need of help with their applications are not taken for a ride.

‘Similarly, it also protects agents from claims of incompetence or mal-administration by consumers who are unhappy with the outcome of their application.’

16 June 2005

URL: http://www.minister.immi.gov.au /media_releases/media05/v05074.htm Last update: 16 June 2005 at 14:20 AEST