What is ‘MARA’ and why is ‘MARA’ important in your Australian migration process? Well, for starters, the Australian migration process is quite complicated and there is a good chance that your application, despite being eligible, will get rejected for the simple reason of not being filled out correctly and not having the backing of a skilled and experienced Australian registered migration agent which brings us to the first question, how important is MARA in choosing a professional migration agent to emigrate to Australia and what is MARA’s role in the whole Australian emigration process? Read on to find out.
What is ‘MARA’?
‘Migration Agents Registration Authority or ‘MARA’ is part of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, as it is an ‘office’ within the department, the proper name is ‘The Office of Migration Agents Registration Authority’ or OMARA, sounds familiar? Learn more about MARA at the official website www.mara.gov.au
If you are looking at emigrating to Australia, then the role MARA plays is invaluable, since the office’s main function is to regulate Australian migration agents as well as other parties offering migration services to Australia.
MARA’s Main Objectives in Connection to your Australian Migration Process
The following services and objectives are maintained by ‘MARA’ for your protection and are applicable when working with a MARA registered Australian migration agent.
- Clients requiring migration services are updated on their rights
- Ensure registered migration agents understand their obligations
- The registration of only suitable migration agents or bodies and rejecting membership to unsuitable agencies
- Ensure the agents are updated and maintain the required knowledge and skills to offer clients accurate and opportune advise
- Monitoring the agents for integrity and proper conduct, that they may offer a professional and ethical service
- Make sure that clients of all registered or previously registered agents have a proper platform to complain
- Handling of all complaints professionally
Why is ‘MARA’ important to your Immigration Process?
Simple, MARA ensures all registered agents act responsibly, guaranteeing your application is reviewed and processed right. What’s more, all Australian migration agents registered with MARA must adhere to the ‘MARA Code of Conduct’
What is the ‘MARA Code of Conduct’?
The MARA Code of Conduct is established to ensure all registered migration agents have a set of guidelines to follow, thus regulating their conduct. www.mara.gov.au
Following is an extraction from the ‘Code of Conduct and Practise Guides’ as listed on the MARA website.
“The Code of Conduct is a ‘Provision for a Code of Conduct for migration agents is set out in Section 314 of the Migration Act 1958 and is prescribed in Schedule 2, Regulation 8 of the Migration Agents Regulations 1998 Code of Conduct for registered migration agents”.
The Obligations of Migration Agents under the official ‘MARA Code of Conduct’
Migration agents have a number of obligations to fulfil under the MARA Code of Conduct, as listed below;
- Interacting with clients
- Maintaining fees, charges and proper record keeping together with financial management
- Responsibilities with regards to other migration agents
- Responsibilities towards their employees
- The requirement to respond to any complaints made against them to MARA
- To prominently display the ‘MARA Code of Conduct’ in their office, as well as, the client waiting area while providing clients with a personal copy of the code if they ask for one
Choosing the right Australian Migration Agent under MARA Guidelines
With so many agents offering you success in your emigration process it’s hard to choose the one that will guarantee success, which is why MARA has listed a set of guidelines for hopeful applicants to choose the right migration agent; here are a few as listed on the website. www.mara.gov.au/how-to-choose-and-find-an-agent
- Decide on the type of help you need – a registered agent is qualified to offer you immigration assistance in the fields of submitting your visa application and also applying to the Migration and Refugee Division of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for reviewing your application pending a visa decision. www.mara.gov.au/using-a-registered-migration-agent
- Here are some factors to consider, as per MARA guidelines on services a client requires from a migration agent. Advise on various visa types, help to lodge a particular visa, advise on a particular visa type, being a legally qualified agent (a lawyer), an agent who talks your language and one that provides advice on main issues such as education
Agent Fees as Monitored under the ‘MARA Code of Conduct’
According to the ‘MARA Code of Conduct’ for all registered Australian migration agents the fees charged must be fair; and while fees vary depending on circumstance and visa type, it will mainly depend on the following factors:
- Visa application type
- The time spent in preparing your application, remember some applications take longer to put together than others
- The level of service you require
- On whether you need additional help or have complicated circumstances. Such as having dependents listed in your application; in which event the agent will charge extra
- The qualifications and experience of the agent, for example an agent who is a lawyer will charge higher fees for a more skilled service
While these are the standards factors ‘MARA’ lists for an agent to define their fees, if at any time you feel they are too high, feel free to air your concerns and try to negotiate to a more amiable amount.
MARA recommends your talk to at least 3 agents before deciding on the one that seems appropriate to handle your Australian migration application.
Consultation Fees as Per MARA
Registered migration agents will either phone you or meet you in person to discuss services provided and answer any questions you may have; before signing an agreement. MARA lists this as an ‘initial consultation’ and recognises the fact that while some agents charge a small fee for this service others provide the service for free. Agents charging a fee must let you know in writing the exact amount before the initial meeting.
Choosing a professional MARA Registered Australian Migration Agent is a step in the right direction; therefore for a no obligations quote and initial consultation contact our friendly team at Sure Migration Agents in Perth.