What is the Difference Between a Migration Agent and a Lawyer?

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What is the Difference Between a Migration Agent and a Lawyer?

What is the Difference Between a Migration Agent and a Lawyer?

There are many similarities between migration agents and lawyers. Both are required to abide by a code of conduct, and they can both provide advice and conduct research where required. 

While there are similarities, there are also differences in their qualifications and what they can do for their clients especially when it comes to Immigration. 

Registered Migration Agents 
To become a Registered Migration Agent, you must:
-          Hold a bachelor’s degree
-          Obtain a Graduate Diploma in Migration Law
-          Pass the Capstone assessment
-          Undergo a fixed amount of continued professional development (CPD) in every 12-month period to maintain your registration 

As specialists in Immigration law, registered migration agents can:
-          Help you prepare your visa application
-          Represent your case at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) if you have had a refused or cancelled visa
-          Can help clients with border control issues
-          Can update passports and other details with the Home Office
-          Conduct skills assessments
-          Provide a roadmap for visa pathways
-          Review documents and applications
-          Research and advise on specific immigration issues 

Lawyers 
In order to become a lawyer, you must:
-          Complete an approved law degree
-          Complete practical law training
-          Pass the bar exam
-          Undergo a fixed amount of continued professional development (CPD) in every 12-month period to maintain your registration

Lawyers can provide consultation on visa matters and conduct research and advice. At one stage, lawyers could also be registered as migration agents but in July of this year legislation changed and now, they can only be either a lawyer or a migration agent. While this is the case, there are some law firms that specialise solely in Immigration, but these are not very common. Immigration lawyers can assist with all immigration matters. 

It’s not uncommon for a registered migration agent and a lawyer to work together should an immigration case need to go to court or be presented in the High Court of Australia. In these cases, the migration agent provides the in-depth knowledge of immigration while the lawyer is up to speed with the judicial process and can take the lead in the court room.

On 15 June 2020, the Migration Amendment was passed which means that lawyers cannot continue to have a dual registration as both a lawyer and a registered migration agent. They are only able to hold one professional licence at a time, which means they will no longer be required to maintain a certain amount of Professional Development per year in the immigration field. This means a registered migration agent may be a more compelling choice for those with immigration specific issues and queries after this bill goes into effect.

Travel Exemptions
While Australian borders are currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, travel exemptions may apply under the following circumstances:
- A traveller has a compassionate or compelling reason to visit Australia
- Overseas workers holding a Subclass 482 or 400 visa are required to undertake a job in Australia that cannot be filled by a local employee

Visa Solutions Australia has been successful in acquiring a broad range of exemptions, from critical workers to those needing to travel on compassionate grounds. 

To learn more about how a migration agent can help you or to speak with a registered migration agent call Visa Solutions Australia on 1800 828 008.

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