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Lawyers and Migration Law

Under current laws, legal practitioners who practice migration law or give migration legal advice in South Australia must be registered with the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA), as well as hold a practising certificates through the Law Society of South Australia.

The Migration Amendment (Regulation of Migration Agents) Act 2020 (Cth) received Royal Assent on 22 June 2020. The final version of the Act has not been released.

Under the new Act, legal practitioners who hold an unrestricted practising certificate will be able to provide immigration advice to clients without also having to be registered as a migration agent. This will mean that legal practitioners who hold unrestricted practising certificates will be allowed to provide migration advice.

While the new Act has been passed by parliament, it has not yet fully commenced in operation. Until the new law has fully commenced, lawyers who practice migration legal advice are still required to be registered with MARA.

Schedule 1 of the new Act provides that it will become unlawful for legal practitioners with unrestricted practising certificates to be registered as migration agents from the earlier of:

  • the date fixed by proclamation; or
  • nine months after the day after the Act received Royal Assent (i.e. 23 March 2021).

The new Act will also allow legal practitioners on restricted practising certificates to be registered migration agents for a period of up to 2 years from when the lawyer first held a restricted practising certificate, or until the person becomes an unrestricted lawyer. Lawyers who have been newly issued with an unrestricted practising certificate must notify MARA within 28 days.

Lawyers and Migration Law  :  Last Revised: Wed Jul 8th 2020
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.