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Code of Conduct – For Registered Migration Agent

Part 1 – Introduction

  • 1.1. This Code of Conduct (the Code) is intended to regulate the conduct of registered migration agents.

  • 1.2. The Migration Agents Registration Authority (the Authority) is responsible for administering the Code.

  • 1.3. A person who wants to operate as a registered migration agent must register with the Authority.

  • 1.4. The Code applies to an individual who is listed in the Register of Migration Agents kept by the Authority under section 287 of the Migration Act 1958 (the Migration Act).

  • 1.5. To ensure compliance with the Code, the Authority may impose an administrative sanction if a breach of the Code is found to have occurred.

  • 1.6. An administrative sanction may range from a caution through to suspension of registration or the ultimate sanction of cancellation of registration.

  • 1.7. Accordingly, the Code does not impose criminal sanctions.

  • 1.8. However, there are a number of offences under the Migration Act and the Migration Regulations 1994 (the Migration Regulations) that also deal with the kind of activity covered by the Code. These activities include misleading statements and advertising, practising when unregistered and misrepresenting a matter. Provisions of the Crimes Act 1914, the Criminal Code Act 1995 and the Trade Practices Act 1974 may also apply to these activities.

  • 1.9. The Code is not intended to displace any duty or liability that a registered migration agent may have under the common law, or the statute law of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory, in relation to a matter covered by the Code. The provisions of the Code should be read in the light of this principle.

  • 1.10. The aims of the Code are:

    1. to establish a proper standard for the conduct of a registered migration agent;
    2. to set out the minimum attributes and abilities that a person must demonstrate to perform as a registered migration agent under the Code, including:
      • being a fit and proper person to give immigration assistance;
        • i.a. being a person of integrity and good character;
      • knowing the provisions of the Migration Act and Migration Regulations, and other legislation relating to migration procedure, in sufficient depth to offer sound and comprehensive advice to a client, including advice on completing and lodging application forms;
      • completing continuing professional development as required by the Migration Agents Regulations 1998;
      • being able to perform diligently and honestly;
      • being able and willing to deal fairly with clients;
      • having enough knowledge of business procedure to conduct business as a registered migration agent, including record keeping and file management;
      • properly managing and maintaining client records;
    3. to set out the duties of a registered migration agent to a client, an employee of the agent, and the Commonwealth and its agencies;
    4. to set out requirements for relations between registered migration agents;
    5. to establish procedures for setting and charging fees by registered migration agents;
    6. to establish a standard for a prudent system of office administration;
    7. to require a registered migration agent to be accountable to the client;
    8. to help resolve disputes between a registered migration agent and a client.
  • 1.11. The Code does not list exhaustively the acts and omissions that may fall short of what is expected of a competent and responsible registered migration agent.

  • 1.12. However, the Code imposes on a registered migration agent the overriding duty to act at all times in the lawful interests of the agent’s client. Any conduct falling short of that requirement may make the agent liable to cancellation of registration.

  • 1.13. If a registered migration agent has a contract in force with a client that complies with this Code, but the Code is amended in a way that relates to the content of the contract:

    1. the agent is not in breach of this Code solely because the contract does not comply with the amended Code; but
    2. the agent must do everything practicable to vary the contract to ensure that it complies with the amended Code.

Part 2 – Standards of Professional Conduct

  • 2.1. A registered migration agent must always:

    • act in accordance with the law (including, for an agent operating as an agent in a country other than Australia, the law of that country) and the legitimate interests of his or her client; and
    • deal with his or her client competently, diligently and fairly.

    However, a registered migration agent operating as an agent in a country other than Australia will not be taken to have failed to comply with the Code if the law of that country prevents the agent from operating in compliance with the Code.

  • 2.1A. A registered migration agent must not accept a person as a client if the agent would have any of the following conflicts of interest:

    1. the agent has had previous dealings with the person, or intends to assist the person, in the agent’s capacity as a marriage celebrant;
    2. there is any other interest of the agent that would affect the legitimate interests of the client.
  • 2.1B. If it becomes apparent that a registered migration agent has a conflict of interest mentioned in clause 2.1A in relation to a client, the agent must, as soon as practicable taking into account the needs of the client, but in any case within 14 days:

    1. tell the client about the conflict of interest; and
    2. advise the client that, under the Code, the agent can no longer act for the client; and
    3. advise the client about appointing another registered migration agent; and
    4. cease to deal with the client in the agent’s capacity as registered migration agent.
  • 2.1C. Part 10 of the Code then applies as if the client had terminated the registered migration agent’s instructions.

  • 2.1D. A registered migration agent who has ceased to act for a client in accordance with paragraph 2.1B(d), must, as soon as practicable, but in any case within 14 days, inform the Department that he or she is no longer acting for the clien