Monday, 15 June 2020
Migration Amendment (Regulation of Migration Agents) Bill 2019, Migration Agents Registration Application Charge Amendment (Rates of Charge) Bill 2019; Second Reading
I will continue with the summing-up speech for these bills. The bills reflect the government's deregulation agenda and its commitment to establishing a world-class migration advice industry, and remove the unnecessary administrative burden of dual regulation of these legal practitioners who are already subject to a strict professional regulatory regime.
The government recognises that deregulation should not be prioritised over the maintenance of important consumer protections. The Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee stated:
The committee is confident that the legal profession in Australia is well-regulated and offers effective consumer protection mechanisms, including for vulnerable consumers, such as those who seek migration assistance.
The regulation-of-migration-agents bill also allows the OMARA to refuse an application for registration as a migration agent if the migration agent does not provide further information. This will remedy the current situation, where the application will remain open and unfinalised indefinitely while there is a failure by an agent to provide the information sought. The bill will also complement amendments to fees and charges in the rates-of-charge bill and make other minor amendments. The rates-of-charge bill ensures that a person who paid the non-commercial application charge in relation to their current period of registration, but gives immigration assistance otherwise than on a non-commercial basis, is liable to pay an adjusted charge.
In summary, we are committed to a strong but practical migration advice industry that works in the best interests of Australia and believe that the bills deserve the support of all senators. I commend the bills to the chamber.