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The difference between registered migration agents, unregistered migration agents, legal practitioners & accredited specialists

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When researching who can lodge a visa application for you, it can be confusing understanding the difference between registered migration agents and migration agents/advisers/consultants, legal practitioners and accredited specialists. The difference is extremely important.

1. Registered Migration Agents

In Australia, all migration agents must be registered with the Office of Migration Agents Registration Authority (OMARA). They are called “Registered Migration Agents”. You can find a full list of registered migration agents on the OMARA website.

2. Migration agents who do not have ‘registered’ in front of  ‘migration agent’

Outside of Australia, migration agents are not regulated. Therefore, many migration agents overseas are unregistered and have not been through the requirements imposed by the Australian government e.g. police checks, qualification requirements etc.

3. Legal practitioners

A legal practitioner is a lawyer who holds a legal practising certificate. Australian legal practitioners hold a legal practising certificate issued by an Australian authority for example the Law Society of New South Wales.

4. Accredited Specialists

Solicitors (legal practitioners) who fulfil the requirements of the Specialist Accreditation Program are entitled to use, after their name, the words ‘Accredited Specialist’ in the nominated area of practice. This program is run by the Law Society.

See related post “How to become a Registered Migration Agent” to learn the process of becoming a registered migration agent.

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