Before you decide to apply for a Protection visa it is a good idea to get some advice from a registered migration agent. A registered migration agent can also help you with your application if you do decide to apply. This page contains general information about migration agents and how they can help you if you decide to apply for a Protection visa. The MARA has developed a video which explains how to find a registered migration agent and what to expect from them. You can watch the video here.
Disclaimer: By leaving the Office of the MARA’s website, the Office cannot endorse the content of other videos on YouTube or information on the YouTube website. Users should make their own judgements about accessing those information and/or seek independent advice.
Frequently Asked Questions
Click on the question below to find out more information about migration agents.
What is a Migration agent?
What is the office of the MARA?
- Making sure only suitable people are registered as migration agents
- Making sure registered migration agents keep up to date with the law so that they can give people the right advice
- Making sure that people who use migration agents understand their rights and that migration agents understand their responsibilities
- Handling all complaints about migration agents
The Office of the MARA has a lot of helpful information on their website about migration agents and what to expect from them. If you would like to visit the website of the Office of the MARA, you can do that by clicking here.
Some of the information on the MARA website has been translated from English into other languages. You can click here to see the page on the MARA website which has information in other languages.
What does being registered with the MARA mean?
The MARA has also developed a consumer guide which you should read to help you understand what to expect from a migration agent and what a migration agent should and should not do. You can find a copy of the consumer guide on the MARA website if you click here.
Do I need a migration agent to apply for a Protection visa?
Will a migration agent charge me a fee to help me apply for a Protection visa?
- Your migration agent can charge you for their services directly.
- Your migration agent can be a registered Immigration Advice and Application Assistance Scheme (IAAAS) provider.
- Your migration agent can assist you on a “pro bono basis”. This means that the migration agent will not charge you or receive any financial benefit for helping you.
If you are eligible under IAAAS then you will not have to pay your migration for their services. The migration agent’s fees will be paid for you by the Australian government. Not everyone is eligible for help under IAAAS. There are guidelines about who is eligible. For more information about IAAAS see “What is IAAAS?” below.
How much should a migration agent charge me for my application?
If I am paying for my migration agent what should I expect?
If the fees will change for any reason, including any additional costs for translation, photocopying or accessing medical reports, you must be told about this in writing as soon as possible and asked to sign an additional written agreement giving your permission for these costs to be incurred.
There is more information about what to expect when your migration agent is charging you in the MARA Code of conduct which registered migration agents have to follow. You can find it on the Office of the MARA website by clicking here.
If I pay more for my migration agent does that mean they will do a better job?
What is IAAAS?
- General advice about your migration situation.
- Help to complete and submit a visa application.
- Talking to the DIAC for you about your case.
- Advice about a complicated immigration issue.
Only registered IAAAS providers can provide free services to you under the IAAAS scheme. There are 22 IAAAS providers who can provide services under IAAAS. You can find a list of IAAAS providers if you click here. For more information, see “Can I get help with my application through IAAAS?” below.
Can I get help with my application through IAAAS?
If you are eligible for IAAAS you can get assistance from an IAAAS provider to make a Protection visa application to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship and to review your case to the Refugee Review Tribunal. You cannot get free help to appeal to the Court or to ask the Minister to intervene in your case through IAAAS.
Where can I find a migration agent?
They also have information about how to choose a migration agent. Click here for more information about how to choose a migration agent.
For a list of migration agents who can help you with a Protection visa please click here.
What if I am not happy with my migration agent?
- Discuss your concerns with them and give them time to resolve the problem.
- Change to a different migration agent.
- Make a complaint about the migration agent if you believe they have not acted in accordance with the Code of Conduct.
Making a complaint against a migration agent does not have any negative impact on your visa application. To make a complaint you need to fill in the complaints form issued by the office of the MARA. You can find the complaints form and more information about making a complaint on the MARA website by clicking here.
What if I find out my migration agent is not registered?
How can I protect myself from a dishonest migration agent?
What should I expect from a migration agent?
A migration agent should do ALL of the following:
- Clearly explain to you: the definition of a refugee; the stages of the refugee process; costs involved with the process; and the challenges and difficulties of seeking protection.
- Help you with your Protection visa application forms.
- Help you to prepare your statement of claims and to gather independent evidence in full detail for your application. Your statement of claims should include a lot of detail. If it is less than 5 pages long you should check to make sure that all the important information about your case has been included.
- Take time to help you make sure all the information you provide is correct.
- Give you time to read and understand all documents before you sign them.
- Make sure anything you sign is read back to you and if you don’t speak English that it is translated for you before you sign.
- Keep you informed of the progress of your application.
- Provide all information in a language that you understand and provide a translator if you do not understand the information in English.
- Keep all of your information confidential.
- Make sure you are aware of all possible outcomes in the process.
- Always give you realistic advice about whether your case will succeed.
- Come with you to the DIAC interview or Refugee Review Tribunal (RRT) hearing and possibly speak on your behalf to help explain how your story fits into the Refugee Convention.
- Make sure that your forms are lodged within all time limits to ensure you remain lawful and do not lose any of your legal rights.
- Communicate to you any important information from the DIAC or the RRT.
- Help you to understand your current visa conditions and entitlements.
What should my migration agent NOT do if I am applying for a Protection visa?
- NEVER guarantee that they can get you a visa.
- NEVER encourage you to lie or change your story. This can be very damaging to your case.
- NEVER keep your original documentation if you want it back e.g. passports.
- NEVER take your statement without using an interpreter, unless you are fluent in English.
- NEVER write the statement on your behalf without you being present.
- NEVER ask you to sign any document without having read through with an interpreter or good English
- NEVER request your labour or other favours in order to assist with your Protection visa claim.
- NEVER threaten you with reporting you to the DIAC or the police.
- NEVER fail to come to interviews with you if the written agreement states that they will attend.
- NEVER tell you not to go to your DIAC interview or RRT hearing.
- NEVER tell anyone in your community about your refugee claims unless you have given them permission
- NEVER threaten to send you back home to your country if you do not pay them more money.