Registered Migration Agents update – March 2024

There have been significant changes announced affecting how we (My Migration) provide our services as RMAs to you (as a client).

Registered Migration Agent

Initial Consultations and service agreements

Section 42 of the Code of Conduct provides that, subject to section 43, an RMA must not give immigration assistance to a client unless a service agreement is in force. Section 43 provides an exception and allows for an RMA to give the type of immigration assistance mentioned in paragraphs 276(1)(b), (2)(b) or (2A)(b) of the Migration Act 1958 (the Migration Act) at an ‘initial consultation’ without a service agreement being in force. Subsection 43(4) makes it clear that only the first consultation between an RMA and a client or a potential client is an initial consultation, and if the consultation consists of a series of sessions conducted on more than one day, sessions conducted on a day after the first day are taken not to be part of an initial consultation.

What is an initial consultation?

An initial consultation would generally be an opportunity for an agent to find out the potential client’s circumstances, and to advise what they would be able to do for the potential client, including steps, costs, etc. Generally, the agent would not at this point need to be satisfied of the identity of the potential client, as communication with the Department or review authorities would generally only occur after a service agreement has been entered into. An initial consultation would be a single consultation where the agent would normally find out the facts of the potential client’s situation and would either give the client basic advice or would outline processes and costs for the potential client.

This means that if an RMA meets with a potential client and considers the potential client’s circumstances with a view to determining whether or not they might provide immigration assistance to the client, this would constitute an initial consultation. This would be the case regardless of whether any immigration assistance was provided during that consultation. It would therefore be necessary to put a service agreement in place before providing further immigration assistance to the client at a subsequent meeting. It follows that a practice of providing immigration assistance following research at a subsequent meeting would not be permissible.

“From 1st March 2022 to 2024, we will need more details from you when we hold an initial consultation, to give you follow up advice after that consultation (including having a service agreement in place), and especially if we are providing visa advice or assistance to you for a 3rd party (your friend, relative etc). We will need consent from the 3rd party before advising you for their visa pathways.”

Initial Consultations and service agreements

Section 38 of the Code of Conduct provides that an RMA must not give immigration assistance (whether at an initial consultation or otherwise) unless a copy of the Consumer Guide has been given to the client.

Therefore, we’ll be providing a copy of Consumer Guide before the initial consultation. The link to download the Consumer Guide will be included in the Appointment Confirmation email. You are encouraged to read the guide.

Since these changes are new, we ask for your patience and understanding with this process.

Regards,
Surender Reddy Thimapuram
Migration Agent

MARN 1795597

Source: Code of conduct (mara.gov.au)

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