Next month the Migration Agents Code of Conduct (CoC) will change. The CoC outlines the rules that Registered Migration Agents must follow in their professional dealings with clients. The changes have been widely discussed within the Migration Agents’ professional bodies over the past few months, and have been highly anticipated within the profession.
So what do these changes mean for people who are looking to engage a Migration Agent after 01 March 2022?
The Code of Conduct Explained
The CoC is a legal requirement that all Registered Migration Agents must adhere to. The Code outlines important requirements including things like how client money must be handled, the essential elements of a service agreement, what is permitted when advertising migration services, and how to manage conflicts of interest.
When you first contact a Registered Migration Agent, you must be provided with a document called the ‘Consumer Guide’. This document outlines the essential parts of the CoC, to inform you of what is required of your agent when handling your matter.
Why are the changes happening?
The Australian Government is striving to provide a world-class immigration system. We have all heard heartbreaking stories of migrants impacted by unscrupulous agents. By strengthening the CoC, Registered Migration Agents must meet increased requirements in their daily professional duties. This will ultimately lead to better outcomes for people engaging immigration services.
The most important change
Although there are multiple changes, one of the most prominent changes for clients is the way a consultation takes place.
As of 1 March 2022, Registered Migration Agents will only allowed to provide you with one initial consultation, without the need to enter a formal agreement.
Currently, agents will often provide numerous paid consultations (this may be where a client needs further clarification or time to consider options). This is particularly relevant to businesses looking to sponsor employees, as it can take time to fully comprehend the requirements prior to proceeding with a sponsored migration strategy.
From March this year, Registered Migration Agents must only provide follow-up information (after an initial consultation) WITHIN 24 HOURS. This means that you can ask for clarification and your agent can provide this, but only if it is within 24 hours of the initial consultation. Any further assistance MUST be given only after a written agreement is prepared and signed by both parties.
It is necessary?
Whilst this change will no doubt create additional work for Registered Migration Agents, it will also help to ensure those providing immigration assistance are being held responsible for the advice provided to clients. When dealing with sensitive and time-critical information, it is essential that clients receive accurate advice, specifically tailored to their needs.
At Regional Migration Australia, we ensure our experienced agents follow the Code of Conduct. All agents undertake significant training and development every year to remain up to date on current issues and strategies.
To arrange a consultation with one of our experienced Registered Migration Agents please book here.
Note: For bookings made after 1 March 2022, remember you will need to have any queries clarified within 24 hours of your appointment. Our friendly agents can help guide you through these changes, and continue to provide exceptional service as always!