Migration agent red tape to be cut

by Ray Clancy on December 5, 2013

in Australia, Australia Immigration, Australia Travel

The re-registration process for migration agents in Australia is to be made simpler and change due to come into effect in January 2014 has been shelved, it has been announced.

Assistant Immigration Minister Michaelia Cash said that the English language proficiency requirement for the re-registering of migration agents will now not happen and the move is part of an overall drive to reduce red tape.

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Self-service processing options for eligible travellers entering Australia are undergoing trials at airports.

Under the former Labour government, the change affecting the re-registration of migration agents was due to come into effect from 01 January but Cash said that simplifying the re-registration process will save the sector time and money.

The decision is a reflection of the government’s commitment to reducing red tape and will allow the migration advice industry to focus on providing high quality assistance to clients, according to Cash.

She explained that she was not satisfied that the former government’s decision to impose an additional burden on re-registering agents by requiring them to demonstrate their English language competency was supported by evidence.

‘It is clear from my consultations that industry stakeholders were concerned by the detrimental impact this measure would have had on experienced agents,’ she said.

A broader review of the migration advice industry is to be considered including English language requirement for migration agents entering the profession.

‘Given the role played by the migration advice industry in the delivery of Australia’s migration programme, it is important it maintains high standards and continues to develop professionally,’ she added.

The self-service SmartGate passport control entry system at airports which has been trialled at various locations is to be permanent for eligible UK citizens. A further trial is underway involving US citizens.

‘As the number of travellers arriving at Australian airports continues to increase, it’s important that Customs and Border Protection has access to the best tools and technology to provide a smooth and trouble free experience for travellers,’ she said.

Customs and Border Protection also plans to extend the trial by adding more nationalities over the next 12 months, including Switzerland, Singapore, Sweden, Malaysia and the Netherlands.

The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) has recently installed seven additional gates and kiosks at Sydney Airport, which now has a total of 22 gates. The ACBPS is also expanding the number of SmartGates at some of our major airports nationwide. Work began in Melbourne at the end of last year and has continued with new gates in Sydney and Perth.

Cash said that the extension of SmartGate facilities will assist officers in managing the increased number of international travellers arriving at Australian airports each day.

SmartGate is a self-service processing option for eligible travellers entering Australia. The key benefit is its speed. Rather than having to queue to see a Customs and Border Protection Officer, SmartGate travellers can self-process through passport control. This can be much quicker, particularly during busy periods such as school holidays.

‘Eligible travellers arriving at Australian airports now have even more access to SmartGate facilities to self-process after arriving on an international flight. This means that tourists will be able to see the sights sooner and returning Australians will spend less time at the airport and arrive home faster,’ Cash added.

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