This Digest is prepared for debate. It reflects the legislation as
introduced and does not canvass subsequent amendments.
This Digest was available from 18 June 1996
Migration Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1)
Date Introduced: 30 May 1995
House: House of Representatives
Portfolio: Immigration and Multicultural
Commencement: Royal Assent
To extend the Migration Agents Registration Scheme by another 12
months to 21 September 1997.
The Migration Agents Registration Scheme (MARS) was established
in 1992 by the Migration Amendment Act (No. 3) 1992
following concerns about unscrupulous conduct and incompetent
advice given by some people providing immigration assistance.
- a registration scheme for would-be providers of immigration
- a code of conduct for registered agents;
- procedures for investigating complaints against agents;
- processes for suspending and deregistering agents; and
- criminal sanctions for unregistered practice.(1)
The scheme was originally established for three years, with a
government commitment to evaluate it after two years.(2)
In 1994, the then Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs,
Senator the Hon Nick Bolkus, announced the terms of reference for
an inquiry into the scheme by the Joint Standing Committee on
The Committee issued its report Protecting the
Vulnerable? in May, 1995.(3)
The report concluded that after two years of operation, the
scheme had had mixed results but recommended it be retained for
another three years.
On the basis of all the evidence presented to it, the Committee
concludes that the Scheme should be retained for the time being,
but that it should be reassessed by the Committee after a further
three years of operational experience. The Committee was swayed in
particular by the arguments that the Scheme only now is beginning
to show results and that further time is required to achieve the
Scheme's intended objective.(4)
The government extended the scheme for another twelve months -
to 21 September 1996 -so it could consider the report.(5)now just
three months away, this Bill seeks to give the scheme another
twelve-month extension - to 21 September 1997.
In the Second Reading Speech to this Bill, the Minister, the Hon
Philip Ruddock, said the government needed more time to review the
scheme and to consider changes suggested in the Committee's
The proposed one year extension of the registration scheme until
21 September 1997 will provide time for the government to further
review the Scheme, having regard to the prospect of enhanced
self-regulation by the migration advice industry.
There are only three amendments required to extend the scheme by
another twelve months to 21 September 1997 (five years since it was
first introduced). All amendments are to the so-called 'sunset
provisions' which terminate the scheme after a specified time.
Item 1 of Schedule 1: Repeals the old heading
to Division 7 of Part 3 (the part of the Act establishing the
Migration Agents Registration Scheme) and substitutes a new one
Division 7 - Part to last 5 years
Item 2 of Schedule 1: amends section 333(1) to
This Part ceases to be in force at the end of 5 years after the
commencement of the Migration Amendment Act (No. 3)
Item 3 of Schedule 1: amends section 333(4) to
The regulations may provide for the refund of all or part of
registration application fees and renewal fees paid later than 4
years after commencement date.
The Explanatory Memorandum says this amendment is required
Fees are paid on an annual basis. If the scheme is terminated
after five years, this amendment will enable the partial refund of
application fees and renewal fees which have been paid in the last
year of the scheme. The four years will end on 21 September
(1) Joint Standing Committee Report, Protecting the
Vulnerable? The Migration Agents Registration Scheme, May
(2) Hon G. Hand, Minister for Immigration, Local Government and
Ethnic Affairs, Parliamentary Debates (Hansard), House of
Representatives, 27 May 1992: 2937.
(3) op cit: Joint Standing Committee Report: 1.
(4) op cit: Joint Standing Committee Report: xviii.
(5) Second Reading Speech, Migration Legislation
Amendment Bill (No. 5) 1995.
Bronwyn Young Ph. 06 277 2699
12 June 1996
Bills Digest Service
Parliamentary Research Service
This Digest does not have any official legal status. Other
sources should be consulted to determine whether the Bill has been
enacted and, if so, whether the subsequent Act reflects further
PRS staff are available to discuss the paper's contents
with Senators and Members and their staff but not with members of
© Commonwealth of Australia 1996
Except to the extent of the uses permitted under the
Copyright Act 1968, no part of this publication may be
reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, including
information storage and retrieval systems, without the prior
written consent of the Parliamentary Library, other than by Members
of the Australian Parliament in the course of their official
Published by the Department of the Parliamentary Library,
This page was prepared by the
Parliamentary Library, Commonwealth of Australia
Last updated: 19 June 1996
Back to top