Migration Agent sanctioned for lodging non-genuine nomination and visa applications
Investigation on Subclass 187 RSMS Applications Lodged on Behalf of a Registered Migration Agent
Following a referral from the Department of Home Affairs on 22 September 2017, the Office of Migration Agents Registration Authority conducted investigation on RSMS applications lodged on behalf of an Agent.
The Department alleged that the number of non-genuine applications lodged by the Agent was indicative of a systemic practice of undermining the migration program, including the production of fraudulent documentation and the making of misleading statements to the Department.
On 5 March 2019, the OMARA issued the Agent a notice pursuant to section 309(2) of the Act, advising the Agent that it was considering cautioning her, or suspending or cancelling her registration. Upon requesting for an extension of time due to ill health, the Agent has not provided OMARA with a response to its section 309(2) notice to date.
Breaching Obligations as a Registered Migration Agent
Having regard to the information before the OMARA, it founded that the Agent breached her obligations in the following ways:
Failure to act in the clients’ interests – the Agent failed to advise her clients about the progress of their respective migration matters and as a result, caused them to lose both their lawful status and opportunity to appeal the Department’s decision
Integrity, fitness and propriety – pursuant to paragraph 303(1)(f) of the Act, the OMARA may take action against an Agent if not satisfied that the agent is a person of integrity or otherwise a fit and proper person to give immigration advise.
'Integrity' means 'soundness of moral principle and character, uprightness and honesty'. At common law, the basic test to determine whether a person is “fit and proper” is known as the “Allinson test”. A person is not fit and proper person if his or her conduct “would be reasonably regarded as disgraceful or dishonourable by his professional colleagues of good repute and competency”
Accordingly, the Agent failed to act in accordance with the law by being a party to fraud which resulted in the provision of false and misleading statements and documents to the Department in a number of applications.
The OMARA considered the possibility of issuing the Agent with a caution or suspending the Agent’s registration, however, it held the view that there are no courses or private tuition which would satisfactorily address the findings made in this decision, particularly regarding the dishonest nature of her conduct and her failure to properly respond to the Authority.
The Agent’s conduct was serious and demonstrated a lack of fitness, integrity and propriety. Hence, the OMARA decided that a cancellation of the Agent’s registration was the most appropriate action to be taken.
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