09 February 2009

Evans announces new migration regulation body

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Chris Evans has announced a new body to regulate migration agents, which will run as a separate entity to the Migration Institute of Australia (MIA).

From July 1, a new Office of Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA) will manage the regulation of migration advisors, and take the responsibility from the MIA, after a review suggested a separate regulatory body would create a more efficient scheme.

"The current arrangement has the industry association managing the regulatory function of its own members – which includes the handling of complaints – and this has caused serious concerns among consumers and stakeholders," Senator Evans said.

"Unprofessional, incompetent or unethical behaviour by migration agents affects the lives of consumers, challenges the integrity of Australia's visa program and brings the entire profession of more than 3700 migration agents into disrepute," he added.

The Minister is hoping the changes would raise the level of the integrity of the Australian immigration programme, so that more people can move to Australia with as seamless transition as possible.

The office will have a board of representatives that will have a nominee from the MIA, the Law Council of Australia, a consumer representative, and the community, and will have administrative support from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. 

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with emigrating to Australia.

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