Migration agents are not required to be lawyers. It is possible to qualify as a migration agent after completing 26 hours face-to face tuition plus private study, and passing an examination.
Most lawyers receive at least four years training in the law and hold at least a bachelor degree from a university plus a graduate certificate in legal practice. Lawyers devote considerable study to topics such as evidence and proof; migration agents do not. Lawyers are often better placed to understand evidence and how to use it.
A lawyer can help you go to Court if you have received an adverse decision from a Tribunal. A migration agent who is not also a lawyer cannot.
Lawyers who are also migration agents can help with all stages of the process - the initial application to the Department, applications to a Tribunal and applications to the Courts. For example, we won a unanimous 7-0 victory in the High Court of Australia in NAGV and NAGW v Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs.
Some migration agents who are not lawyers do acquire many of the necessary skills. In our view, however, the supervision of a migration agent by a lawyer provides an additional level of quality assurance.