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Should I Use a Registered Migration Agent?

by Susan Wareham BSc(Psych), AdvDipBus(HRM), GCHSt(PolicyDev), CN404, MMIA

Registered Migration Agent

As a registered Australian migration agent, I’m often asked by prospective clients whether they should use an agent or go it alone.

In a nutshell, my advice is that it's not essential to use a migration agent to move to Australia; it depends entirely on your ability to submit a successful application. In a way, it’s a little like deciding whether to use an accountant to submit your tax return, or a solicitor to prepare your Will. Some people are confident to do it themselves - and do so successfully; others prefer to use a professional adviser. It's entirely a personal choice.

If you do use a registered migration agent, the services they offer will generally include:

  • advising you on what visa may best suit you (if any) out of Australia's 140+ visa options
  • providing you with an honest opinion about your chances of success
  • providing you with a firm, written quote of their fees to represent you, including details of any application components such as medicals and translation expenses that will represent additional costs
  • ensuring that the documents you will need for your application are of a standard that meets the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship's requirements; and that of the relevant State Government, if necessary
  • assisting you with any complexities or points of law that might apply to your unique case
  • ensuring your application form is completed correctly and accompanied by the correct fee, so your application is valid - the Department is legally unable to consider invalid applications
  • preparing a legislatively based submission to support your application and present you in the best possible light
  • lodging your application, monitor its progress and liaise with the Australian Government on your behalf
  • in the event that your application is not successful, apply for Ministerial intervention (if appropriate), submit an appeal and/or represent you at tribunal hearing
  • often provide you with follow up and subsidiary services, if required.

A few things to be aware of, if you retain a migration agent:

  • to provide migration advice in Australia, an agent needs to be registered with the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA) - it is a criminal act for unregistered advisers to provide such advice and the Government views it so seriously that such persons risk penalties of up to 10 years' imprisonment. Migration agents providing advice outside Australia are not required to be registered and are not bound by the MARA’s stringent requirements.
  • no migration agent can guarantee that you will be 100% successful in your application - in fact it's against the MARA's Code of Conduct to make such a claim (you can find the Code of Conduct on
  • migration agents are prohibited from implying that they have a special relationship with government that will benefit their clients.

To find out whether the person offering you migration and visa advice is registered, you can search the Register of Agents on the MARA’s website. If you don’t have access to a computer, you can obtain a hard copy of the register from MARA. Your search should result in a listing similar to this: Susan Wareham. Alternatively, you could ask them for their seven digit MARN – a registration number allocated by the MARA only to duly registered migration agents.



In our next feature article, Susan discusses a topic of high importance to many potential migrants – “How much will it cost to migrate to Australia?”.

Susan Wareham BSc(Psych), AdvDipBus(HRM), GCHSt(PolicyDev), CN404, MMIA is an Australian registered migration agent (MARN 0635687).  Susan has extensive experience across all Australian visa categories and also provides business planning, management and recruitment services to business skills, state sponsored and investment visa clients.  She is an active member of  the Migration Institute of Australia and a Board Member of the 20,000 strong Australian Businesswomen's Network. For more information about this topic, or for assistance with any of your visa or migration requirements, Susan can be contacted on  +61 7 5592 3083  or contact Susan.

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