Solicitors also registered as migration agents–the end of dual regulation

As a result of the Migration Amendment (Regulation of Migration Agents) Act 2020, from 22 March 2021:

  • If you hold an unrestricted practising certificate:
    • you will no longer be eligible to register as a migration agent
    • if you are currently a registered migration agent, you will be removed from the register by the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (OMARA)
    • you will be able to give immigration assistance in connection with legal practice without being registered as a migration agent.
  • If you hold a restricted practising certificate and also hold registration as a migration agent, you will have two years (unless extended by OMARA) to either:
    • fulfil the requirements of supervised legal practice, obtain an unrestricted practising certificate and be removed from the OMARA register, or
    • surrender your practising certificate and continue as a registered migration agent.

For more information about the changes, please see the OMARA website.

To provide immigration assistance on the basis that you hold a practising certificate is to engage in legal practice. To provide such assistance to the public you must do so as part of a law practice covered by a policy of professional indemnity insurance that complies with the Legal Profession Act 2007.

If you hold an ‘in-house’ practising certificate and work for a corporation that is not a law practice (for example, a migration agency that is a corporation), you can only give legal advice to your employer and related bodies corporate. You cannot give legal advice directly to clients of the corporation.

Please be aware that if you are a registered migration agent and you have been subject to disciplinary action by OMARA that involved a finding of guilt, you must declare this as a suitability matter upon application for grant or renewal of a practising certificate.

If you are subject to an investigation by OMARA or the Legal Services Commission (or a corresponding authority in another state/territory) subsequently commences an investigation into your conduct, this is a suitability matter which must be declared on application for grant or renewal of a practising certificate.

If you intend to surrender your practising certificate before 22 March 2021, please contact QLS Records and Member Services by email (records@qls.com.au) or telephone (1300 367 757).

Wondering what the migration law landscape look like post-MARA? Join Victoria Lenton of Lenton Migration Law & Consultancy during the upcoming QLS livecast, Migration law: What happens after MARA? Register now.

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