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As assisting Mr Albert Wong, a citizen of China, as a first client with his application for a Class AX, subclass 103 Parent (Migrant) Visa, I need to understand my obligations as a migration agent in relation to Code of Conduct to make clients feel assured about the professional and ethical standards which could be expected. Discussion According to Migration Act 1958, subsection 314(1), Migration agent has been prescribed a Code of Conduct by regulation .
According to Migration Agents Regulations 1998, Schedule 2, a registered migration agent must -Perform in such a way that he/she should follow the law of Australia and any other country in which they operate by fulfilling their clients’ legitimate interests fairly . Advice the client about the success of application either written or orally but should not give false hopes of success of application under the Migration Act or Migration Regulations . After agreement client’s instructions should be written and confirmed.
Agent should follow them and inform client about the progress of the application. Agent should give e client written details of outcome or any implication of government policy for success under Migration Act or Migration Regulations. A registered migration agent must hold confidentiality of client. He or she should not reveal any of client’s information unless needed by law or with the persons written permission . At the time of agreement migration agent should supply the client with consumer guide and should save the information that the copy has been provided .
A migration agent should let the clients know that they can have any copies of documents of their application and he can charge them for that . Interpreter service should also be provided to clients if necessary . There is no fixed amount of fees, but a registered migration agent can take an appropriate amount of fees . Before starting work, client should be given an estimate of all the possible charges on hourly or service basis which would result as part of service. Client should be informed of estimate of time for service .
After obtaining written acceptance from client, he or she should be informed of estimation of fees and time to do the service . The client should be given written confirmation of agreement for fees and services to be performed and the payment of charges that would incur accordingly . If there is any change to earlier estimated cost the client should be given written notice as soon as the agent becomes aware of it . Migration agent should not work in a way which would increase client’s unwanted cost and the client should agree and be informed of all the extra cost that would incur if outside expertise should be involved .
Client should be always informed of delays and cost involved for using Lawyer for engaging witnesses , meeting legal costs if case is lost ,to pay departmental costs and paying of interpreting services . Written advice should be given about all payment methods of departmental fees and charges by registered migration agent . Migration agent should be conscious of section 313 and work accordingly . The agent is not allowed to take any payment for his services without giving client his statement of services according to clause 5. 2 . The statement of services should include details of each service and charge for each service .
According to Act a client can recuperate all the money he/she paid as it is a liability of the agent ,for giving migration advice before and could not have statement of services before paying or within 28 days after final decision made about the case . It is obligatory for a migration agent to keep all the of client’s application , each written communication , between agent and his client ,with any relevant statutory authority and /or department relating client . Agent should also have all the records of all oral communication between agent and client , with any relevant statutory authority and department relating client .
All the records of client should be kept by agent for 7 years after final act . Even before that period also, all the client’s documents should be secured to preserve privacy , according to client’s written instructions . A registered migration agent must keep clients’ money, in client’s account until he had finished part of work he accepted and supply the client with the bill for services provided according to clause 5. 2 , which should include individual service provided and fee for each of it .
Agents can withdraw money from client’s account whenever needed for paying departmental fees or for any other agency, for the client . Agent should also maintain all the records of clients account which would include date, sum , reason and name on whose behalf deposits are done . The records should also include the debit details like date, sum and name of each recipient for whom it was done . Agent should also maintain records of all the invoices of payments by client , statement of services and duplicates of all the extracts relating to clients account transactions .
One copy of Code should be displayed noticeably by migration agent , in any waiting room where the client does his business or any other a room which clients use . It could also be agent’s office . If any client request for code 1 copy, should be immediately handed to him or her . When contract is made between agent and client , it should include a statement which says about the Code’s intention and existence . And let the client know that, he or she can get it if requested .
Registered migration agents must follow Code of Conduct to practice legally and ethically.
Migration Act 1958 (Cth)
Migration Agents Regulations 1998 (Cth)