Australia Immigration

New warning over rogue migration agents operating in Australia

by Ray Clancy on November 17, 2014

in Australia Immigration

Visa and residency applicants seeking to use migration agents in Australia are again being warned to be aware of rogue agents and to check credentials.

The warning comes after yet another agent has been censored and had their registration cancelled, this time for refusing to refund fees.

business

The warning comes after yet another agent has been censored and had their registration cancelled

The Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA) cancelled the registration of Kurt Kraues for the maximum of five years for misappropriating client’s money and failing to meet his financial obligations as a registered migration agent.

The Authority found that Kraues had entered into agreements involving substantial fees to 81 miners from Papua New Guinea through their labour hire company in an arrangement where they came to work in Australia on 457 visas.

The miners complained that the company had told them they would be eligible for permanent residence after two years in Australia and Kraues was recruited to assist them with their applications.

However, the miners lost their jobs after five to six months and, following unsuccessful attempts to have fees refunded that they had paid monthly to Kraues, 15 of the miners lodged complaints with OMARA.

Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Michaelia Cash said the migration agent had not only acted unlawfully in refusing refunds but also he had not provided any actual immigration assistance to the miners.

‘If these agreements had run their full course, the agent would have received $588,000 in payment from the miners. I have been advised that the 15 miners who lodged complaints are owed $13,680 and the figure could be as high as $160,000 for all the miners involved,’ explained Cash.

‘His conduct fell well short of the standards set out under the Code of Conduct for registered migration agents and he posed a serious risk to consumers. This agent’s argument that the miners’ payments to him were a retainer, not a fee-for-service arrangement, was rightly rejected by OMARA,’ she added.

Only people who are registered with MARA are permitted to give immigration assistance. People wishing to find out whether an individual is registered as a migration agent can do so by visiting the Office of then MARA’s website at www.mara.gov.au.

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