It is after a long struggle in the migration industry that an amendment to remove Australian legal practitioners from the regulatory system of the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (OMARA) has been made.
The Migration Amendment (Regulation of Migration Agents) Bill 2019 [“the Bill”] proposed to amend the Migration Act 1958 (Cth), interalia, to remove unrestricted legal practitioners from the regulatory scheme that governs Registered Migration Agents. The Bill was first introduced in the House of Representatives on 27 Nov 2019 and subsequently, in the Senate on 13 Feb 2020. After the third reading in the Senate on 15 June 2020, the Bill was passed by both the houses of the Parliament. On 22 June 2020, the Bill received the Royal Assent as per Section 58 of the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1900 (Imp) and is now the Migration Amendment (Regulation of Migration Agents) Act 2020 (Cth) [“the Act”].
The Act amends the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) and contains various provisions including:
- Schedule 1 – Legal practitioners providing immigration assistance, including transitional arrangements
- Schedule 2 – Registration periods
- Schedule 3 – Redundant provisions
- Schedule 4 – Requirement for applicants to provide further information
- Schedule 5 – Fees and charges
- Schedule 6 – Other amendments
As per the Act, various Schedules are set to commence at different times, mostly within the next 6 to 9 months.
The Act makes it unlawful for the Australian legal practitioners with Unrestricted Practicing Certificates to be registered as Registered Migration Agents with the OMARA after the commencement of this provision which is commencing at the end of 9 months from the day of receiving the Royal Assent i.e., 22 June 2020, or earlier if a date is fixed by a Proclamation.
The Act defines restricted as:
“a practising certificate held by an Australian legal practitioner is restricted if:
(a) It is subject to a condition requiring the practitioner to undertake
supervised legal practice for a specified period; and
(b) such a condition was not imposed as a disciplinary measure by an
authority responsible for disciplining Australian legal practitioners in a State or
If you have any questions or need more information about these changes, Get in Touch with us or call us on (02) 4626 100 to speak to one of our friendly staff.