Immigration Legal Advice

Written by Patricia Tunstall
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Legal advice on Australian immigration can be obtained from attorneys, but their fees will undoubtedly be higher than those of migration agents registered with the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA). The base qualification for these agents is a three-day course on immigration laws and procedures, but some agents have gone into this area after receiving law degrees or even practicing law for a time. Australian-registered migration agents in various countries of the world can assist and give advice to applicants who want to emigrate.

For comprehensive, up-to-date, immigration legal advice, applicants will need the help of qualified experts if their cases are at all out of the ordinary. Regardless of the country, immigration laws and their daily applications are difficult to understand, and the procedures are not easily negotiated by lay people. Bureaucracies are always potential roadblocks, and the unfortunate applicant cannot often unscramble an error.

DIMIA Does Not Give Legal Advice

Applicants may think they can get legal advice from the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA), but that is not the function of this agency. Officials with DIMIA can offer information, but they cannot interpret the laws, or give legal advice about the laws. They are not attorneys, and they are not registered migration agents, so their assistance is limited to providing forms and describing procedures.

As with any bureaucracy, DIMIA representatives may give a sketchy description of a certain visa procedure, or a full rundown that reveals the ins-and-outs of the application process. With a migration agent who has a legal background, however, there is an ethical and legal obligation to provide all relevant information. If the applicant opts for full-service help, then the application is guided every step of the way by the agents.


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