The Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (OMARA) is an Australian Government authority that registers migration agents and regulates the Migration Agents profession. Migration agents assist people to migrate to Australia by using their knowledge of Australian visas and immigration law to complete necessary visa applications and represent them in dealings with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (previously the Department of Immigration and Citizenship), the Tribunals, The Minister, Federal Courts and High Courts of Australia.
The Office also assists people to find a migration agent, provide advice about fees that agents might charge and assist with making complaints about agents.Under Australian law (Migration Act 1958, Part 3) any person who gives "immigration assistance" must usually be a Registered Migration Agent. The term "immigration assistance" is defined in section 276 of the Act to cover using, or purporting to use, knowledge of or experience in migration procedure to advise or assist various people with visa applications and related sponsorships, appeals, etc.
On 9 February 2009, after a review, the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, announced new arrangements to govern migration agents. Under these new arrangements, the OMARA was established on 1 July 2009. Previously, the legislation appointed an organisation called the Migration Institute of Australia Limited (MIA) to function as the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA), which was charged with maintaining a register of migration agents and carrying out a variety of functions under the Act in relation to supervision and discipline of agents.
The OMARA is a discrete office which is part of the Department of Home Affairs. They are located in Sydney, but operate nationally.
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