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The Migration Institute of Australia (MIA) welcomes the news of the arrest of Sydney businessman Eddie Kang for fraud offences related to migration.National President of the MIA, Ms Angela Chan FMIA, said that she is concerned by the allegations revealed on Channel 7 News that Eddie Kang had lodged hundreds of visa applications which were refused by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, and that he had allegedly charged the visa applicants exorbitant fees for his services.

“Eddie Kang has been described in news reports as an “immigration agent”. Nothing could be further from the truth as he has never been a registered migration agent and should not be described as one”, said Ms Chan.

“In Australia it is illegal to provide immigration assistance unless one is registered with the Migration Agents Registration Authority. There are a few exceptions to this, such as being a family member of a visa applicant. Eddie Kang has never been registered, and does not meet any of the exceptions”, said Ms Chan.

Ms Chan said that this case highlights the importance of people using a Registered Migration Agent if they require immigration assistance. Registered Migration Agents can be identified by their 7-digit registration number (Migration Agents Registration Number – MARN), and their details can be found and confirmed on the MARA website: www.mara.gov.au

Ms Chan said that the registration system was designed to protect people from the usually disastrous consequences of using an unregistered person.

“The safest thing is for people to use the services of a Registered Migration Agent who is also a member of the MIA. Our members have to abide by both the MARA Code of Conduct and the MIA’s own Code of Ethics and Practice”, said Ms Chan.

A full list of MIA Registered Migration Agents can be found on the MIA website’s Find an Agent facility.

Ms Chan also called upon the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to cease accepting applications from unregistered people.

“The MIA has long advocated the Department take strong action against unregistered practice and this case shows that the Government must now enact legislation to prevent unregistered people from being able to lodge visa applications.  This case demonstrates the need for the government to protect vulnerable visa applicants against unregistered operators”, said Ms Chan.

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