Which should I use : Migration Lawyers or Migration Agents?

Deciding whether to go through a Migration Lawyer or a Migration Agent?


Why Migration Lawyers at No Borders will keep your future secure.


Currently, hundreds of lawyers simultaneously hold licenses as qualified migration agents. On the 22nd of May 2021, unrestricted legal practitioners will no longer be registered with the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authorities (OMARA) to provide migration assistance. As your move to Australia can be both a costly and complicated experience, it is important that you choose a qualified professional most suited to your needs.


What is the advantage of using a Migration Lawyer versus a Migration Agent?


In Australia, only an immigration lawyer or migration agent can provide migration-related services and advice to you. As listed below, there are four important reasons that can help you decide which type of migration consultant you should engage with:


  • Level of Qualification


Migration is a complex area of law that is constantly subject to change and development. A key difference between migration lawyers and migration agents is the difference in the level of qualification required.


Currently, migration agents are only required to complete a one year Graduate Diploma of Australian Migration Law and Practice course following any Bachelor degree and successfully obtain a registration with OMARA.


In contrast, with their comprehensive understanding of several diverse areas of law gained through their Law Degree and Practical Legal Training, lawyers have the expertise necessary to ensure they are aware of current regulations and policies relating to various visa subclasses in order to best serve you. Through their studies, lawyers gain broader training and experience with interpretation of the legislation and case law. The law surrounding migration in Australia operates against a backdrop of complicated and extensive legislation, detailed police guidelines and parliamentary directives, and over 150 visa subclasses. With their knowledge and expertise across diverse areas of law, lawyers are better equipped to deal with your case constructively and creatively to ensure you can achieve the best possible outcome.


  • Capacity to Represent You Where it Matters


While both lawyers and migration agents can provide migration advice, visa application assistance, and representation at the AAT, only lawyers can assist with judicial review at the Federal Circuit Court. Further to this, lawyers are qualified witnesses and have access to several resources under their legal registrations that are exclusive to qualified lawyers.


  • Ethical obligations


While migration agents are subject to the OMARA Code of Conduct, lawyers are bound by additional ethical duties under the Australian Solicitors’ Conduct Rules (ASCR); the Legal Profession Act; Legal Professional Conduct Rules; Law Society Ethical and Practice Guidelines. These additional ethical and professional guidelines to which lawyers are subject impose key obligations. These include duties to always act in the best interests of the client; to deal with clients competently, diligently and fairly; to act within a reasonable timeframe; ethical billing; and to never mislead or deceive the client. This provides lawyers with an additional edge whereby they are required by regulation to ensure they are up to date on the latest in industry developments.


  • Legal Professional Privilege


Another key divergence between lawyers and migration agents is the concept of ‘legal professional privilege’. While migration agents are required to maintain any communication between themselves and clients confidential, it is only lawyers who can claim legal professional privilege.

The concept of legal professional privilege means that your lawyer cannot disclose any of your details or confidential communication between the two of you to the Department of Home Affairs, even if such communication is requested to be used against you. In contrast, any information you provide to a migration agent does not bear these same protections. A migration agent will be bound to pass on any communication requested by the Department, should you ever be investigated or prosecuted.


So which are better?


For these reasons, it is important that you are aware of the experience of the migration consultant you wish to employ, whether they have previously handled cases similar to your own and the longevity of their practice in the field.


Expenses vary between lawyers and migration agents. However, lawyers can provide the same services as a migration agent, in addition to being able to provide further services where it counts. With full legal representation in courts, the capacity to provide advice on legal matters outside of migration, as well as to deal constructively and creatively with your matter, employing a lawyer to assist you carries immense benefits. It ensures you have key protections while you navigate the exciting and complicating process of migration.


Australian Immigration law is an extremely complex area of law and one with profound legal implications for all individuals involved. This is why having the best legal advice and representation is necessary to achieve your migration goals.


At No Borders Migration, we have both immigration lawyers and registered migration agents with extensive knowledge and experience who are committed in helping you achieve your Australian dream.


Get in touch with No Borders today for a free consultation to speak with one of our experienced lawyers!


Are your looking for visa options?


Email: [email protected]

Tel:  +61 (07) 3876 4000


We will help you with exploring visa options and securing your application. No Borders Migration is experienced in the migration and Australian visa application, and our migration agents and lawyers have extensive knowledge in the legal requirements, eligibility criteria, and the supporting documents required. Simply dial 07 3876 4000 or email: [email protected] and let us help you start with your way towards obtaining an Australian visa.


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