Certain people have also offered to pay me for my services. I want to inform all my readers that I am not a registered migration agent and the advice I provide on this blog is free of charge. This doesn't mean that what I am telling you is wrong. The fact that I am not a registered migration agent/lawyer means that I cannot charge you for providing legal services or any advice on this blog.
There are lots of scams going on in the market where unregistered, non-professional people posing as lawyers rip off people by charging them high legal fees. There is a strict penalty for such crimes and the person involved can face criminal charges.
How to chose a migration lawyer/agent?
The first step you should take in choosing your lawyer agent is to confirm whether he/she is registered with the Migration Agents Registration Authority, MARA.
Please note that migration agents outside Australia are not required by Australian law to be certified from MARA. However, any one providing migration services, inside Australia is required by law to be a certified MARA migration agent. So its up to you to chose a MARA qualified migration agent or to chose a non-qualified MARA agent.
All registered MARA migration agents have a registration number. If you want to hire a lawyer, agent, You should ask for your lawyers/agents MARA registration number. You should ask for your lawyers/agents MARA registration number.
The authenticity of that registration number can be confirmed by checking it from the online database provided on the website of MARA.
Your agent/lawyer/consultant of the firm should be a registered Migration Agent under Australian Government Legislation. This legislation requires Registered Migration Agents to demonstrate that they are of good character and demonstrate competence in Australia's immigration law. Registered Agents must operate in accordance with a detailed Code of Conduct. You can also have a look at the Information on the Regulation Migration Advice Professional (IRMAP)
What are the benefits of hiring a MARA registered lawyer?
The greatest benefit a customer has while hiring a MARA registered lawyer/agent is that you can legally sue your lawyer/agent by lodging a complaint with MARA. If you do not hire a registered migration agent, you will not be able to legally sue him in Australia. It doesn't matter whether you yourself live in India or Brazil. Sending an email complaining against your agent/lawyer would be enough.
There are many other benefits such as knowledge and skills of a registered lawyer and his experience in handling cases etc.
I myself made a mistake and hired a non registered MARA lawyer and got myself into trouble. So instead of trying to save money and then getting yourself into trouble, it is advisable to pay a little extra and hire a professionally qualified lawyer who can get things done quickly and in a proper way.
Eligibility for registration
To be eligible to register with the MARA, you must be over 18 years of age and be either:
- an Australian citizen
- the holder of an Australian permanent visa
- a New Zealand citizen holding a special category visa.
In considering registration applications, the MARA must be satisfied that an applicant:
- is a fit and proper person to provide immigration assistance (an AFP National Police Check is required)
- has demonstrated competence in the English language
- has completed a Graduate Certificate in Australian Migration Law and Practice or holds a current legal practicing certificate
- holds professional indemnity insurance.
The MARA website contains forms and guidance about the requirements for becoming a registered migration agent.