Independent review into Australian migration agent organisation announced

by Ray Clancy on July 1, 2014

in Australia, Australia Immigration

The organisation that registers migration agents in Australia and ensures they follow a professional code of conduct is to be the subject of an independent review, it has been announced.

The review of the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (OMARA) by Perth-based barrister Dr. Christopher Kendall, who sits on the executive of the Law Council of Australia, will be completed by early September.

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The review is taking place in order to reduce red tape and deregulate

According to Michaelia Cash, Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, the review is part of an ongoing commitment from the government to reduce red tape and deregulate.

‘The review will examine and report on the OMARA’s organisational capability and challenges, as well as the quality and effectiveness of its internal controls and governance,’ she said.

‘It will also examine the regulatory framework and powers of the OMARA to determine if they are still appropriate and identify opportunities to reduce regulatory burden,’ she added.

The OMARA is attached to the DIBP and administers the functions of the Migration Agents Registration Authority, which is set out in section 316 of the Migration Act of 1958.

It has existed since 2009 and its key objectives are to ensure that only suitable persons are registered as migration agents, and unsuitable persons are refused registration or re-registration.

It also ensures that all complaints about the services of registered, or formerly registered, migration agents are appropriately addressed and that registered agents maintain appropriate knowledge to enable them to provide accurate advice to consumers.

It works collaboratively with the department and other bodies, such as prosecuting or regulatory authorities, to address the activities of agents outside its mandate. The OMARA also ensures that consumers understand their rights and agents understand their obligations under the regulatory framework.

The law requires that migration agents operating in Australia be registered with the OMARA. Agents must operate under a strict code of conduct.

The announcement of this review comes just after a revelation that the agency in Australia that identifies skill shortages to be filled by overseas workers is being abolished.

The Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency will become part of the Department of Industry from the beginning of July.

 

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