According to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Migration Amendment (Regulation of Migration Agents) Bill 2018 (also known as the ‘deregulation bill’) is scheduled to be debated in the Senate on 18 September 2018, at 12pm.
The bill as originally drafted would divide practitioners into immigration lawyers and migration agents in a way that would in practice force RMAs who were studying to become lawyers or had just become lawyers to hand over their clients to law firms. That would be devastating to those agents and their respective clients.
Following a Senate inquiry into the Bill last year where the writer raised Constitutional issues and many others contributed, the government introduced 2-year transitional provisions into the Bill for restricted legal practising certificate holders, extendable by the OMARA by up to another 2 years on a case-by-case basis. The commencement date was also amended, from 1 July 2018 to 19 November 2018.
It is not clear at this stage whether the Senate will debate a potential amendment to the commencement date to a later date or whether it will actually put the Bill to a vote.
Interestingly, the OMARA’s website as at 1.45am AEST on 14 September 2018 still reads as follows:
As the Bill was not considered by the Senate during the Parliamentary Winter sittings, the intended implementation date of 19 November 2018 will no longer be possible and a new proposed implementation date will need to be determined.
Perhaps the OMARA’s website is an indication that the Bill will only be debated for the purposes of postponing the commencement date, but nothing is certain yet.
Disclaimer: the above is a mere tentative analysis of what could happen to a Bill. 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.