956 (Design date 03/19) - Page 1© COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA, 2019
Advice by a
registered migration agent/exempt person
of providing immigration assistance
Department of Home Affairs
The following people do not have to be registered as
migration agents in order to provide immigration assistance:
• a close family member (spouse, child, adopted child,
parent, brother or sister of a visa applicant);
• a sponsor or nominator for a visa applicant;
• a member of parliament or their staff;
• an official whose duties include providing immigration
• a member of a diplomatic mission, consular post or
As an exempt person you must not charge a fee for
your assistance. In Australia, if you do charge a fee you are
committing an offence and penalties of up to 10 years jail can
An authorised recipient is a person appointed to receive all
written communications from the Department on behalf of
If you are not appointed as the authorised recipient, all
written communication will be sent to the client or their
appointed authorised recipient.
Roles and responsibilities
The Department will:
• discuss the client’s case with you;
• send written communications to you (if you are also
appointed as the authorised recipient);
• seek information from you.
Registered migration agents
If you are giving immigration assistance to a visa applicant
in relation to a visa application and give that assistance after
having agreed to represent the applicant, section 312A of the
Migration Act 1958 and regulation 7G of the Migration Agents
Regulations 1998 require you to inform the Department. One
way you can do this is by sending a completed form 956 to the
Under the Code of Conduct for registered migration agents
• provide your client with an estimate of fees and a statement
• act with honesty, integrity and in a timely manner when
dealing with clients or the Department;
• maintain a sound and up to date knowledge of migration
law and procedure;
• act lawfully in the best interests of your clients;
• provide relevant information with applications;
• notify clients and the Department promptly of any changes
to contact details;
• avoid or manage conflicts of interest.
Who should use this form?
This form can only be used by:
• a registered migration agent; or
• an exempt person.
This form should be used to notify the Department of Home
Affairs (the Department) that:
• you have been appointed by a client (eg. a visa applicant)
to provide immigration assistance under the Migration
Act 1958 and, if applicable, to receive documents on their
• your appointment has ended. (You may notify the
Department of this in writing if you prefer.)
A separate form 956 Advice by a registered migration agent/
exempt person of providing immigration assistance must be
completed for each matter.
Do not use this form if:
• you have only been appointed as a person who is
authorised to receive documents, on another person’s
behalf, that the Department would otherwise give to them;
• your appointment as an authorised recipient has ended.
In these cases, please use form 956A Appointment or
withdrawal of an authorised recipient.
What is immigration assistance?
A person gives immigration assistance if he or she uses, or
claims to use, his or her knowledge or experience in migration
procedure to assist a person with matters related under the
Migration Act 1958.
The most common times assistance is provided is during
visa application processes, visa cancellation processes or
sponsorship processes (including monitoring or sanctions).
Note: Immigration assistance does not include simply filling
in an application form, translating or interpreting or passing
on information about an application without comment or
Registered migration agents
A registered migration agent is a person who is registered
with the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority
(Office of the MARA) to provide immigration assistance.
If operating in Australia, migration agents must be registered
with the Office of the MARA.
Information on migration agents is available on the Office of
the MARA website www.mara.gov.au
Immigration Advice and Assistance Scheme (IAAAS)
If you are a registered migration agent who is assisting a
client under this scheme, please indicate this on the form at