What are the requirements to become a MARA Registered Agent? 1

Australia is one of the migration hotspots that millions choose in order to have a secure future and a premium lifestyle. Australia boasts of a resilient economy that has remained undeterred by many financial meltdowns and crises the world witnessed in recent history. Also, unlike developed countries in the Americas and Europe, Australia is not tightening the noose on its immigration policies. In fact, Australian authorities have made the migration process transparent and robust.

Although the Australian migration process is transparent and allows direct application lodgement from migration aspirants. This is not recommended. The Australian migration application process is very detailed oriented and technical and requires an experienced and trained MARA registered agent to handle the process on applicant’s behalf for better chances of a favourable outcome. Australian migration application lodgement requires extensive knowledge of Australian immigration laws along with the technical details. Also, MARA agents help individuals and families with appeals and all sorts of immigration issues that one could expect to counter.

The demands for MARA registered Agents are high. Every year, Australian authorities receive thousands of applications from migration aspirants globally. The role of a MARA agent is a crucial one in these situations. A MARA registered agent helps make individuals and families the biggest decision of their lives i.e. moving and settling down into a new country. It is imperative for a migration consultant to be well informed and highly knowledgeable about the Australian migration process. Although no MARA agent provides a guarantee of a favourable outcome. However, it is crucial for the agent to strive his or her best to champion the case in the most effective and professional manner.

Many Australian law graduates and legal practitioners opt to become a MARA agent. This is because there are countless migration applications lodged every year by migration aspirants to live and settle in Australia. A career in Australian immigration advice and consultation is well-rewarding because the sheer number of applicants who want to migrate to Australia always outnumber the allocation for migrant-intake by the Australian states and territories. Apart from this, there are business opportunities available onshore as well with migrants looking to get their partners, parents, and children in Australia. Also, a MARA agent also provides adequate advice, within their allocated mandate by OMRA, for appealing visa refused cases and representing their clients at the Australian Administrative Tribunal (AAT). A MARA agent is the only mandated professional to provide immigration consultancy and help the applicants with their paperwork.

Australia has strict regulations for anyone intending to become a MARA agent. The migration consultancy industry is regulated in the country and all migration consultants must register with the Office of Migration Agents Registration Authority. As per the MARA official website governed by the Australian Department of Home Affairs,

“Anyone providing immigration advice or assistance must be registered with the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (OMARA). This is a legal requirement under the Migration Act 1958.”

“Anyone who uses, or purports to use, knowledge of, or experience in migration procedures to provide advice or assistance to a person wishing to obtain a visa needs to become registered as a migration agent.”

“Anyone who makes representations or otherwise communicates with the Department of Home Affairs for a fee or other reward needs to become a registered migration agent.”

In order to register as a MARA agent, these are the requirements set by the Australian Department of Home Affairs:

Initial registration

Legal practising certificate

The applicant holds a current legal practising certificate issued by an Australian body authorised by law to issue it.

Graduate Diploma in Australian Migration Law and Practice and Capstone assessment

The applicant has been awarded a Graduate Diploma in Australian Migration Law and Practice; and has passed the separate Capstone assessment and applies to the OMARA to register as an agent within 12 months of passing the Capstone assessment.

Graduate Certificate in Australian Migration Law and Practice and Capstone assessment

The applicant has been awarded a Graduate Certificate in Australian Migration Law and Practice prior to 1 January 2018; and has passed the separate Capstone assessment and applies to register as an agent within 12 months of passing the Capstone assessment

Capstone assessment

In addition to the Graduate Diploma, applicants must pass a Capstone assessment in order to register as a migration agent in Australia. The Capstone assessment may be completed at any time after obtaining the Graduate Diploma.  Applicants need to apply to the OMARA to register as an agent within 12 months of passing the Capstone assessment. The Capstone assessment is an independent assessment of the candidate’s ability to meet the Occupational Competency Standards for Registered Migration Agents.

The Capstone assessment is also open to candidates who completed the Graduate Certificate in Australian Migration Law and Practice prior to 01 January 2018.  However, the Graduate Certificate is unlikely to fully prepare a candidate to pass the more rigorous Capstone assessment. Careful consideration should be given as to whether additional studies should be undertaken to complete the Graduate Diploma before attempting the Capstone assessment. The Graduate Diploma is designed to fully cover the Occupational Competency Standards for Registered Migration Agents and better equip students to pass the Capstone assessment.

For more details on registration regulation, graduate diplomas and Capstone Assessment, please click here.

English Language Proficiency

  1. English Language Proficiency Option 1

You have successfully completed:

  • secondary school studies to the equivalent of Australian Year 12, with a minimum of four years’ study at secondary school or equivalent; and
  • a bachelor’s degree or higher degree, with a minimum of three years’ equivalent full-time study; where
    • your secondary school and degree studies were completed at educational institutions in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom and/or the United States; and
    • English was the language of instruction at these educational institutions; and
    • your study was undertaken while you were living in the country where your degree was awarded, and your schooling was completed.
  1. English Language Proficiency Option 2

You have successfully completed:

  • Secondary school studies either to the equivalent of Australian Year 10 or Year 12; and
  • At least 10 years of primary and/or secondary schooling; where
    • English was the language of instruction at your school or schools; and
    • Your schooling was undertaken and completed in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom and/or the United States; and
    • You were living in either Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom and/or the United States throughout your period of schooling.
  1. IELTS (Academic) or TOEFL IBT

You have achieved, no more than two years before making your application:

  1. A minimum overall test score of 7 in the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) in the Academic module, with a minimum score of 6.5 in each subtest (speaking, listening, reading, writing); or
  2. A minimum overall test score of 94 in the Internet Based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) (IBT), with a minimum score of:
    – 20 in speaking
    – 20 in listening
    – 19 in reading
    – 24 in writing

Note:  IELTS and TOEFL are currently the only specified tests of English proficiency.

  1. Legal Practising Certificate

You are the holder of a current Australian legal practising certificate.

For more details, regarding the English language proficiency required to become a MARA Agent, please click here.

Apart from these primary requirements for registering a MARA agent, the two main tertiary requirements are Professional indemnity insurance and National Police Check. More information on complete requirements of becoming a MARA agent can be accessed at https://www.mara.gov.au/becoming-an-agent/ along with a registration form.

Becoming a MARA agents is not an easy task. However, the rewards associated with a successful career make it seem less complex and difficult.

BMS is an Australian owned and operated company that provides business consultation to migrations agents, consultants and lawyers regarding setting up a business, running it and scaling it. The team at BMS has more than 17 years of experience with a portfolio of successful businesses that were given consultation and built from scratch. BMS Australia provides consultation in the following migration consultancy fields – but not limited to:

  • Turnkey Migration settlement services and Migration Business Setup
  • Advice on CRM selection, deployment and integration
  • Sales and Marketing strategies for businesses and immigration consultants
  • Lead Generation & Customer onboarding
  • Accounting and Cashflow strategies
  • Documentation & Application Lodgement
  • Appeal Lodgement Training and Consultation
  • Customizing Complex Applications

Source: https://www.mara.gov.au/

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