Migration profession's opportunity for change: Report released
30 June 2009 —
Even though they assist thousands of potential Australians to live and work here, migration agents have been slammed as poorly trained and shonky. But Registered Migration Agents are standing up for the profession, determined to raise standards and strengthen ethics.
The Migration Institute of Australia commissioned an independent researcher, Randall Pearce of Think: Insight & Advice, to undertake a study of stakeholders’ perceptions of the Australian migration advice profession. This report, entitled Changing Together, is released today.
Stakeholders who deal with Registered Migration Agents were interviewed for the study. They included university educators, skills assessment authorities, migrant resource centres, refugee advocates, parliamentarians, courts and tribunals, departmental officials and media.
Many respondents were quick to point out that most agents regularly perform to a high standard; unfortunately, a troublesome minority make a disproportionately negative impact on the image of all migration agents.
The findings have been compiled along with proposals for reform put forward by the migration advice profession in response to the research. Opportunities for change include:
- Comprehensive reform to the education and training of agents
- Requiring current Registered Migration Agents to requalify to a higher standard of English language and professional competence
- Introduce a tiered system of registration to protect consumers
- Formation of an independent complaints body with the power to review fees
Responsibility for bringing about change should be shared by all stakeholders, including the Department of Immigration and Citizenship in their new role managing the profession’s regulation authority, the Office of the MARA.
As the professional association, the Migration Institute of Australia knows that agents have taken ownership of the issues. The next step is to develop co-operative strategies with other stakeholders to implement the action plans from the report.
Hard copies of the report are available free by contacting email@example.com or calling us on +61 2 9249 9000.
A series of meetings with MIA members will be held around Australia to discuss the report and gather feedback. If you're a Registered Migration Agent, please complete this quick survey on the report (approx 5-10 minutes).