A brief (recent) history of the regulation of the migration advice profession in Australia:

  1. In 1992, the Migration Amendment Act (No 3) 1992 (Cth) introduced, the Migration Agents Registration Scheme;
  2. Under that scheme, practising lawyers (who could previously give migration advice) were prohibited from doing so unless they were registered as migration agents;
  3. In 1994, two Sydney solicitors unsuccessfully challenged the registration scheme in the High Court, arguing that it was beyond legislative power, infringed the implied freedom of communication and contravenes the freedom of intercourse guaranteed by s.92 of the Constitution. See Cunliffe v Commonwealth (aka “Migration Agents case”) [1994] HCA 44; (1994) 182 CLR 272;
  4. Over the years there were a number of productivity commission reports about whether dual regulation was required;
  5. Ultimately, in the early hours of today (22 March 2021), the Migration Amendment (Regulation of Migration Agents) Act 2020, came into force. The net effect of this is that: (a) lawyers can now provide immigration advice and assistance; (b) only non-lawyers need to be registered as migration agents; and (c) lawyers (at least those with unrestricted practising certificates) are not allowed to be registered;
  6. [please proceed to 1 above]

As a result of all that, my 20 years (to the day – from 21 March 2001 to 21 March 2021) registration (formerly 0101077) has come to end. Of course, I will continue to provide migration advice and assistance but as a lawyer not an agent. I have to make a few changes to the structure of my practise and this website and blog will remain.

Creative commons acknowledgment for the photograph.

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