Who should I use: Australian Migration Agent or Migration Lawyer?

What is the difference between an Immigration Lawyer and a Migration Agent? 

To answer this question it is important to understand the nature of an Australian Immigration lawyer and an Australian Migration Agent. While often used interchangeably, there are several key distinctions between a migration agent and a migration lawyer. Therefore, choosing the right representative is  crucial in securing yourself a positive outcome.


Level of Education and Qualification

The most significant difference between a migration agent and a migration lawyer is the level of training and education required for registration.


  Migration Agents Immigration Lawyers
Qualifications Completed a 12 month certificate or diploma in Australian Migration Law Completed a law degree and Practical Legal Training


A Migration Agent  must only complete a 12-month certificate or diploma to obtain full registration, typically a Graduate Certificate in Australian Migration Law and Practice.


A Immigration Lawyer, however, is qualified and registered as an Australian legal practitioner which is a far more rigorous and comprehensive process including

  1. a 4-year bachelor’s degree in law
  2. practical legal training, essentially a graduate diploma in legal practice, including the required work experience component
  3. admission to the legal profession before the Supreme Court
  4. obtain a legal practising certificate from the relevant law society


A legal practitioner must also

  • renew their practising certificate each year and
  • complete a minimum of 10 continuing professional development (CPD) points each year

to maintain their practising certificate.


A migration lawyer is therefore in a better position to liaise on your behalf with the Department as they understand the governing framework with which the Department must comply to ensure the proper and lawful handling of your case.


Scope of Legal Knowledge

Immigration law is an extremely complicated area in which the complex legislative and regulatory requirements governing the immigration framework is constantly evolving. Immigration law operates against a backdrop of extensive legislation, immense policy guidelines and parliamentary directives, as well as over 150 visa categories.


A migration agent may only assist and advise you in matters that relate strictly to migration, whereas a migration lawyer can identify how other areas of law may interact and influence your case.


Immigration lawyers are more likely to have a deeper understanding of the migration regime and are trained to apply the relevant laws, as they have a legal qualification may prove critical in order to achieve the best outcome for your application, 


Claiming Legal Professional Privilege


The concept of legal professional privilege is another added benefit of using a migration lawyer over a migration agent. While a migration agent must ensure that your communication is confidential, only a migration lawyer may claim legal professional privilege.


  Migration Agents Immigration Lawyers
Legal privilege Cannot assist with appeals to Australian courts
  • Only a migration lawyer may claim legal professional privilege
  • Can assist with appeals to the Federal Circuit Court of Australia (FCCA), the Federal Court of Australia (FCA) and the High Court of Australia


Legal professional privilege protects certain communications from a lawyer and their client from subsequent disclosure. This is your right and acts to your benefit as it prevents the disclosure of communications between you and your migration lawyer to any entity, organisation or even the court.


Essentially, it allows your migration lawyer to withhold any evidence or communications from a third party if requested and is designed to encourage full and frank disclosure of information between a lawyer and their client.


Why should I use a Immigration Lawyer?

If you are not sure which visa to apply for or are unsure about the application process, we would recommend seeking assistance from a migration lawyer, particularly for more complex visas. Migration agents and immigration lawyers offer a range of service and can help with choosing the right visa type for your individual circumstances. They can also assist you with your application process.


All migration agents and migration lawyers are expected to act professionally, have a good knowledge of migration law, perform in a timely manner, detail all costs involved, keep you up to date with the application and progress, keep information confidential and abide by the migration agents’ code of conduct.


Immigration assistance can include:

  • advising you about your visa application or visa matter
  • helping you to prepare a visa application or other document
  • representing you or preparing you for proceedings before a court or review authority in relation to a visa application or visa matter


Here at No Borders Law Group, our migration consultants are all lawyers and registered as Australian legal practitioners. If you need a migration lawyer or would like to discuss your options, please contact No Borders Law Group to speak with one our lawyers today.


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 Law Group is experienced in the Australian migration and 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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