Migration Alliance is a professional association for Registered Migration Agents (RMA) in Australia. As at 27 June 2014 Migration Alliance has 4,100 Registered Migration Agent (RMA) members, which is 79% of the migration advice profession in Australia. As at 30 March 2015 there are 4200 RMA members.
- 1 Structure
- 2 Inception
- 3 Government stakeholder and government relations
- 4 Board and committee
- 5 History
- 6 News and professional engagement
- 7 Lobbying
- 8 Free membership
- 9 Conferences
- 10 Australian migration information
- 11 Professional standards
- 12 Philanthropy
- 13 References
- 14 External links
Migration Alliance is a not-for-profit incorporated association catering to Registered Migration Agents, Australian immigration solicitors, Australian visa applicants and/or intending migrants who would like a new life in Australia. Migration Alliance members include Australian businesses in the migration industry who offer settlement services to migrants. Migration Alliance includes members who are current students in Australian migration law and practice. Migration Alliance was formed on 17 July 2009. Migration Alliance’s primary purpose is to Lobby the Australian Government and to represent the Australian migration community on an international stage. The Migration Alliance Australian immigration web-portal is an online membership society made up of people, businesses and others who have an interest in Australian immigration and immigration news.
Migration Alliance is the brainchild of Liana Allan, who saw an immediate opportunity to create a professional membership organisation after the Migration Institute of Australia lost control of the Migration Agents Registration Authority to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship in 2008/2009. At inception the voted Convenor of Migration Alliance was Accredited Specialist Immigration Lawyer, Christopher Levingston. The Vice-Convenor was Liana Allan. Further Board positions were Leonie Barber, Holly Byrne and Anthony Sim. In 2015 the board positions are held by Christopher Levingston, Liana Allan, Beatriz Leoncini and Gary Christensen.
Government stakeholder and government relations
Migration Alliance was granted 'stakeholder' status with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship in 2010 which ensured that it is included in all DIAC stakeholder briefing and consultations. Migration Alliance participates in Federal and State government liaison meetings, the Office of the MARA and Members of Parliament and their staff. Migration Alliance makes submissions to estimates committees such as the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee, Senate Estimates on behalf of its members. In 2011, during the Labor government rule, Migration Alliance was actively supported by Transport Workers Union (TWU). The supporting principles were been canvassed with the Australian Workers Union (AWU); Maritime Union (MUA); Construction Forestry, Energy, Mining Union (CFMEU);Aviation Union Federation (AUF) and United Voice (UV). Now with a Liberal government, the Unions are of little assistance to Migration Alliance. Migration Alliance is a membership organisation for Registered Migration Agents (RMAs). Migration Alliance is a Compact Partner with the Australian Government Office for the Not-For-Profit Sector. Migration Alliance is an approved Voluntary Organisation with the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority.
Board and committee
Migration Alliance has a Board of four, Chaired by Christopher Levingston and a Management Committee of 12. All board members are Registered Migration Agents. All members of Migration Alliance are eligible to stand for election and to vote. Board positions are voted for two years.
MIA Director breaks ranks and creates Migration Alliance
Migration Alliance Inc was originally a grassroots, democratic organisation of motivated Registered Migration Agents who were disgruntled with the MIA. Migration Alliance formed to promote the true interests of Registered Migration Agents. The current Vice-Convenor of Migration Alliance, Mr Christopher Levingston, Accredited Specialist - Immigration Law was previously a Director of the Migration Institute of Australia (MIA). In 2009 Levingston took a loyal following of migration agents with him, seeking the assistance of Liana Allan, Australian immigration industry entrepreneur, to establish a true representative association. This association then became Migration Alliance. As a result, the Australian migration profession has two representative associations. Migration Alliance views the current competition between both peak professional associations as a battle for relevance.
Migration Alliance branding was originally black and red and chosen as a subliminal warning sign to the industry of the pending demise of the MIA and power of Migration Alliance following. Black and red are still used to this day in Migration Alliance branding,however a government blue has been added as a background to the web-based designs.
Membership - Migration Agents
Migration Alliance currently has 3900 migration agent members who are located in all parts of Australia and internationally. All members are 'Certified Migration Agents'. Membership is free.
Membership - Public, Sponsors, Students, Others
Migration Alliance accepts members of the public, sponsors, students at Australian immigration law and others as members. Memebrship in these categories is free.
News and professional engagement
Migration Alliance provides members with news through a regular email of the latest migration related news, policy and legislative change and issues that affect Registered Migration Agents. The Migration Alliance provides support for its members through an online forum where members can post questions or comments about legislation, practical issues with dealing with DIAC and any other issues. Members are invited to assist one another in a collegiate spirit through the online forum and often more experienced agents provide answers or advice to others. This has become invaluable to members who often work alone in small businesses and have to keep up with a rapidly changing area of legislation. Daily news is available via the free online blog.
Migration Alliance is committed to representing the interests of Registered Migration Agents in Australia. Recent lobbying campaigns have focused on pressuring the Australian Government to legislate against unregistered practice by agents offshore and successfully lobbied to have the government reverse the decision to introduce the compulsory introduction of an IELTS for all migration agents. The introduction of an English test was unfair to agents who have practiced for many years in Australia with no complaint about their English language levels. Some agents with long standing and successful businesses in Australia will be prevented from practising and earning a living. The Australia Government has provided no evidence as to why this is necessary. The Migration Alliance is committed to seeing the Government’s decision reversed. Liana Allan is responsible for the lobbying at Migration Alliance. In June 2014 Migration Alliance released a white paper on 'MIGRATION PROFESSION REFORM: The Case for an Independent Immigration Commission' after the Minister's announcement for a review of the migration regulator. On 30 March 2015,the submission was covered as a headline story titled 'Department of Immigration and Border Protection unit 'overpaid, overstaffed', says Migration Alliance' by The Canberra Times
Migration Alliance does not charge membership fees which is a point of difference to the alternative membership organisation. Members are encouraged to form 'Hubs' in metropolitan or regional areas where members can meet and discuss issues of common interest or network with colleagues.
Migration Alliance held its first annual conference attended by 465 migration agents in Sydney on the 28 and 29 June 2012. Speakers included Senator Michaelia Cash, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Immigration, and economists from NAB and Macquarie Bank, Commonwealth Bank and Amex. Also speaking at the conference was a Doctor from BUPA on the Australian health requirements for visa applicants. Business representatives and Directors from the DIAC, State and Regional Governments also regularly present at Migration Alliance conferences across Australia. Conferences are held as part of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) initiatives for Registered MIgration Agents. Kay Ransome, Principal Member from the Migration Review Tribunal - Refugee Review Tribunal (MRT-RRT) presented a paper at the Migration Alliance Conference in 2013.
Australian migration information
Australian Registered Migration Agents
Migration Agents who are members of Migration Alliance also carry the Certified Migration Agent Certificate (CMA). Members of the public can locate a Registered Migration Agent through the ‘Find an agent’ function. Australian migration information is widely available on the Migration Alliance website via the free migration services directory. Information on Australian visa applications, banking, health insurance, business plans and utilities are such examples. Migration Alliance is a portal for migrants seeking information on Australian immigration.
Locked Registered Migration Agent Forum
Migration Alliance hosts a free online locked migration agent forum where registered migration agents can discuss complex Australian immigration law concepts.
Australian Immigration Blog
In August 2013 Migration Alliance released a free, online, public resource called 'Daily Australian Immigration News'.
Migration Alliance is a membership organization made up of Registered Migration Agents with the aims of:
- Leading the Migration advice profession through the provision of expert advice to Government and consumers.
- Providing effective representation of both the Alliance and consumers to both Government.
- Providing practical assistance and support to the membership.
- Fostering co-operation between members for the betterment of the Profession and to discharge the trust vested in the Profession to provide expert and independent advice to consumers in the National Interest.
- Assisting the consumer through practical support to the non-commercial sector in the provision of expert pro-bono advice.
- Promoting a culture of integrity.
Migration Alliance members follow a Creed of Professionalism and the Oath of Migration Alliance Certified Registered Migration Agents.
In August 2013 Migration Alliance became a full member of Philanthropy Australia. Philanthropy Australia is the national peak body for philanthropy and is a not-for-profit membership organisation.