Capstone exam modified

From Immigration Law News: ‘The College of Law has announced substantial changes to the Migration Agent Capstone Assessment (MACA) to separate the written and oral parts of the exam and restructure the pass requirements. The changes come after significant criticism and concern from migration students and the media based on the 87% overall failure rate for all 3 previous intakes of the exam’.

Immigration Law News has recently sent the writer an email with the following content:

The College of Law has announced substantial changes to the Migration Agent Capstone Assessment (MACA) to separate the written and oral parts of the exam and restructure the pass requirements. The changes come after significant criticism and concern from migration students and the media based on the 87% overall failure rate for all 3 previous intakes of the exam (July 2018, November 2018, February 2019) as revealed in government figures first obtained and released by The Migration Show.

The College has posted the following on their Capstone Assessment FAQ page regarding the change:

“After a review of the performance of candidates following the initial implementation of the MACA, it has been determined that candidates need to first be able to demonstrate their competency in successfully completing the Written assessment component before progressing to the Oral assessment component. Candidates who are unable to successfully complete the Written assessment component may need more time to address their skills and knowledge gaps, which would assist them when they are eligible to commence the Oral assessment component.”

The FAQ page further details that students who previously received 65% on the written part of the exam but did not pass the oral part of the exam will still need to retake the written part of the exam:

“All previous enrolments are governed by the terms in place at the time of that enrolment. The current terms cannot be applied to any previous attempt at the Written assessment component.

The newly modified weighting/structure of sections A,B & C of the Written assessment component allows the new pass rate of 65% overall to meet the OCS standards. The previous design of the written assessment did not permit candidates to achieve or satisfy these standards.”

Other changes to the Capstone include splitting the payment structure to $1,650 for the written exam and $1,100 for the oral component, a change to eliminate the requirement that a score of at least 65% be achieved for Part C of the exam, and further changes to the question structure of the written exam.

Migration Show co-host Mark Northam responded to the College of Law’s changes, stating, “We applaud the College of Law’s efforts to modify the Capstone exam if those changes result in a more reasonable pass rate for this important exam. We hope the College will continue to address issues with the exam until the pass rate of the exam becomes reasonable given the fact that all exam candidates have already completed the Graduate Diploma course. We hope the College of Law or DHA will routinely release pass/fail statistics after each future intake of the exam so that transparency and accountability will exist in a process that is so important to the lives of migration agent students and their families. We also hope that some sort of fee allowance will be considered for students who previously paid for the old version of the exam where so many students failed.”

For more information on the College of Law Capstone changes, please see the Capstone Assessment FAQ page at the College of Law website.


Disclaimer: the above is a mere extract of an email. The views there expressed might not reflect the views of the Department, the AAT or the courts. The law or policies might have changed between the writing and reading of this article. The author of this article and Migration Law Updates disclaim any liability for any action (or omission) on their part based on any information provided (or not provided) in this article and are under no obligation to keep the general public nor practitioners informed about the matters discussed in this article or any other matters, or any future changes to any of those matters. It is the responsibility of each practitioner to obtain access to primary sources of law and policy by themselves and to carry out their own research and come to their own conclusions on legislation, case law, policies and more. This article is not intended for the general public.


Sergio Zanotti Stagliorio is a Registered Migration Agent (MARN 1461003). He is the owner of Target Migration in Sydney. He can be reached at sergio@targetmigration.com.au