Migration Lawyer and Migration Agent – Some Key Differences

Immigration Law is one of the most complicated areas of law. It involves a very complex piece of legislation, including policy guidelines, Parliamentary directives and approximately 150 visa categories. The legislation is constantly changing and therefore it is extremely important that you obtain proper advice and representation to maximise your possibilities to migrate to Australia.

Preparing a visa application requires more than merely completing the required forms and answering questions. Appropriate qualification of your representative and experience may prove critical in the preparation of a quality application and submissions to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and in turn the success of such application.

As the decision to migrate to Australia is life-changing and costly, it is important that you engage the most qualified professional in the area.

Whilst Immigration Lawyers are also registered as Migration Agents, not all Migration Agents are Immigration Lawyers.

The key difference between an Immigration Lawyer and a Migration Agent is that an Immigration Lawyer must meet more rigorous professional standards and a higher level of continuing practical development and supervision. A Lawyer’s registration with the Queensland Law Society and with MARA must be renewed every year requiring continuing professional courses for both regulatory bodies. On the other hand, a Migration Agent must renew their registration with MARA each year and complete 10 hours of continuing professional development.

Another difference is that your communications with a Lawyer are protected by the legal professional privilege which means that these communications are protected from disclosure subject to a few limited exceptions. The legal professional privilege does not extend to communications with Migration Agents. However, both Migration Agents and Immigration Lawyers have an obligation to their clients to not disclose confidential information without the client’s written consent, unless required by law.

Further, Lawyers, as officers of the Court are permitted to appear in Court on behalf of clients. At Cornerstone Law Offices, our lawyers are admitted in the High Court of Australia which allows them to appear as advocates on behalf of clients in the Commonwealth Courts as well.

Visit www.cornerstonelawoffices.com.au for further information call 1 300 CORNERSTONE (267 637) for Brisbane and Logan offices and (07) 5538 9119 for Gold Coast Office.

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