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Lawyer Deregulation Bill Passed – Lawyers vs Registered Migration Agents - consider Immigration industry experience

Deregulation of Lawyers


On 15 June 2020, the Senate passed the Migration Amendment (Regulation of Migration Agents) Bill 2019. This means that unrestricted legal practitioners will be able to provide immigration advice to clients without having to be registered as a migration agent.

Currently, all legal practitioners must be registered with the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (OMARA) as well as hold practising certificates through their state legal boards. This means that they are subject to two sets of professional regulatory regimes. The deregulation of legal practitioners operating in the migration advice industry will allow for any legal practitioners to provide migration advice. 

Until the Bill becomes law, lawyers are still required to be registered with the OMARA to be able to provide migration advice. 

The Migration Amendment (Regulation of Migration Agents) Act 2020 received Royal Assent on 22 June 2020. The final version of the Act is yet to be released.

Schedule 1 of the Act specifies that it will become unlawful for legal practitioners with Unrestricted Practising Certificates to be registered as Registered Migration Agents from the date made by proclamation, or nine months after the day after the Act received Royal Assent (ie 23 March 2021), whichever is earlier .

Although there is quite an amount of work involved in OMARA changing its internal systems, the changes may occur before the 23 March 2021.


Lawyers vs Registered Migration Agents

With the passing of this Bill, all lawyers will be able to complete work typically done by Registered Migration Agents.

Migration is a complex area of law that is constantly changing. It is important that advice is sought from experienced immigration lawyers or registered migration agents. Having experience in the field of immigration, they will be aware of current regulations and policies relating to various visa subclasses.

While immigration lawyers and registered migration agents can both provide migration advice, visa application assistance and appeals to the AAT, only lawyers can assist with judicial review at the Federal Circuit Court.

At Work Visa Lawyers, we have a team of Immigration Lawyers and Registered Migration Agents. We can help you with all aspects of your visa application and appeal.


Which is Better? Lawyers or Registered Migration Agents

When it comes to migration advice, it is not about the title held but more so the person's experience in the field. It is important that you seek migration advice from a professional who has expertise in the visa subclass that you are applying for. Within the field of immigration, there are varying expertise on a range of visas, such as partner visas, skilled visas or employer-sponsored visas. Our team at Work Visa Lawyers have experience in all areas of migration and would be happy to assist you.

There are a few ways to determine the previous experience of a lawyer or an RMA:

Years of Practise

To check how long your RMA has been registered for, search their name on the Register of Migration Agents on OMARA. All of our RMAs are registered with OMARA.

To check when your Lawyer was admitted to practise law, search their name on the Register of Practising Certificates in the relevant state legal board. In South Australia, this will be the Law Society of South Australia. All of our Immigration Lawyers hold valid certificates to practise law in South Australia.

Chris Johnston, the founder of Work Visa Lawyers, has been working in the Immigration field since 2006.


Reviews and testimonials from previous clients will give you an idea about their experience in the field. 

You can read more about our happy clients on our Testimonials page. 



The dynamic arising from the Lawyer Deregulation Bill may create conflict within the migration advice industry. With both Lawyers and RMAs operating under distinct sets of Professional Conduct Rules, there is a lack of regulation to govern two sets of professions working in the same field.  


Do you need help?

At Work Visa Lawyers we are experienced in assisting applicants in all matters relating to Australian visa applications. Our areas of expertise include Partner Visas, Skilled Migration visas, Business Skills Migration visas, Employer Sponsored Work Visas and other Family Migration visas as well as the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) Review, Judicial Review and Ministerial Intervention.

If you require further information regarding your Australia visa options you can contact us through:

(08) 8351 9956 or +61 8 8351 9956 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.




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