Warning over unscrupulous migration agents

by Ray Clancy on April 11, 2014

in Australia, Australia Immigration, General Information

There are more than 5,000 registered migration agents in Australia and overseas who can provide immigration assistance but officials are warning people to check they are bone fide.

The warning comes after a Sydney based Chinese migration agent failed in her bid to have a decision to cancel her registration overturned.

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There are more than 5,000 registered migration agents in Australia and overseas

A spokesman for the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) said the cancellation of registration of Weiming Qian followed a number of complaints about applications for protection visas.

The Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (OMARA) found that Qian had failed to competently and diligently assist her clients and act on their instructions and manufactured or encouraged the manufacture of claims for protection visas.

She also failed to attend with her clients at the Refugee Review Tribunal and the former Federal Magistrates Court for appointed hearings and prepared applications for judicial review when not qualified.

‘A migration agent has a duty to act in the lawful interests of a client and this agent’s conduct was clearly not in her clients’ interests. She deliberately undermined the protection visa programme at every stage, the lodgement of applications for visa processing and review proceedings before the Refugee Review Tribunal and the courts,’ said the spokesman.

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) found the scale of the complaints indicated entrenched poor practice and found the decision made by the OMARA to cancel Qian’s registration as a migration agent was correct, as was the decision that she could not be re-registered for five years.

‘Only people who are registered with the OMARA are permitted to give immigration assistance. Registered agents must meet a code of conduct and be a fit and proper person to provide immigration assistance,’ the DIBP spokesman added.

Meanwhile, the DIBP is reminding people that the review of the effectiveness of the 457 visa programme is still under way and the independent panel undertaking the review is keen to hear the views of interested parties.

The review is being conducted by four industry specialists formally appointed by the Minister, who are independent to the DIBP. They are John Azarias of Deloitte, Jenny Lambert of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Katie Malyon a Migration Lawyer at Ernst and Young and Professor Peter McDonald of the Australian National University.

‘The panel has been speaking with key stakeholders of the 457 programme to hear their views and gather ideas. It would be great to hear other views on the integrity of the 457 programme,’ the DIBP spokesman said.

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