FAQ

Is IARC a government agency? Is IARC a part of the Department of Immigration?

IARC is not a government agency.

IARC is not a part of the Department of Immigration.  

IARC is a community legal centre, a charity and a not for profit legal centre.

Does IARC share my information with Immigration or any other government agency?

IARC does NOT share any client’s information with Immigration or any other government agency without first getting the express consent from the client.

IARC is a legal practice, and as such, client information, legal advice and documents are protected by legal professional privilege.

What is a community legal centre?

Community Legal Centres (CLCs) are independently operating not-for-profit, community-based organisations that provide free legal and related services to the public, focussing on the disadvantaged and people with special needs. You can find out more about CLCs by going to http://www.naclc.org.au/ (the peak body for CLCs in Australia) or https://www.clcnsw.org.au/ (peak body for CLCs in NSW).

Who can give me immigration advice or assistance?

Currently, only persons who are registered migration agents can give immigration advice and assistance, however the following persons can give immigration assistance as long as they do not charge a fee:

  • Parliamentarians and their staff
  • Members of diplomatic missions, consular posts or international organisations
  • Lawyers can give immigration legal assistance without being registered in some circumstances.

What is the difference between a Registered Migration Agent (RMA) and a solicitor?

A Registered Migration Agent is a person authorised by the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA) to provide immigration assistance services. Currently, in order to be registered as an RMA a person must complete a Graduate Diploma in Australian Migration Law. Prior to 1 January 2018, persons awarded a Graduate Certificate in Australian Migration Law and Practice were eligible to apply for registration as an RMA.  An RMA is subject to the Migration Agents Code of Conduct which is set out in legislation to regulate the conduct of agents. An RMA provides immigration advice and assistance.

A solicitor is a person who has been admitted by the highest court jurisdiction in their relevant state, and is licensed to practise the law through their relevant state or territory law society. A solicitor has studied for several years and obtained either a diploma, bachelor or post graduate degree in law. A solicitor is subject to the Australian Solicitors’ Conduct Rules (as applied by the individual state or territory in which the solicitor is practising), which are a uniform set of ethical and professional principles governing the conduct of Australia’s solicitors especially in their relations and interactions with clients, the courts, fellow legal practitioners, regulators and other persons.  A solicitor is qualified to give advice to clients on legal matters. In order to give immigration advice and assistance, a solicitor must be registered as a Migration Agent with the MARA.

All persons giving legal advice and assistance at IARC are both solicitors and registered migration agents.

What kind of assistance can IARC give me?

IARC provides a variety of assistance to clients:

  • Face to face advice – usually a 45-60 minute appointment with a solicitor. This appointment can be either face to face or by phone, depending on the client’s locality. An appointment may include legal advice, information, reviewing or drafting documents.
  • Telephone Advice – usually a 30 minute appointment with a solicitor over the phone.
  • Case work – In limited circumstances, IARC will represent a client in their immigration matter.
  • Referrals to private migration agents, and to other services or agencies if IARC cannot assist you.

The level of assistance IARC provides to a client is at the discretion of IARC and subject to several factors, such as capacity.

Where is IARC?

IARC’s office is located at Suite 3, Level 8, 377 – 383 Sussex Street, Sydney. The office is in between Town Hall Station and Central Station. The closest tram stop is Haymarket.  You can find a map here.

Where does IARC get their funding from?

IARC receives funding under the Community Legal Services Program which originates from the Federal Attorney-General’s Department but is administered by Legal Aid NSW.

IARC also receives tax deductible financial donations from the public. If you would like to donate to IARC, you can do so here.

Will IARC charge me money for advice or assistance?

IARC is a free legal advice service and does not charge a fee for any of its services to clients.

Can IARC advise me about applying for a visa to an overseas country?

IARC cannot advise you on how to apply for a visa to an overseas country. IARC can only advise you on matters relating to Australian immigration.

I want to apply for a passport/I need to renew my Australian passport. Can IARC help me?

IARC cannot assist you with applying for or renewing your passport. Please visit the Australian passport office online at www.passports.gov.au for details on how to apply for a passport.

I want to withdraw sponsorship of my partner’s visa. Can IARC help me?

IARC does not give advice on how to withdraw sponsorship for any visa.

Who can receive advice from IARC?

Anyone who needs immigration advice and meets our means test is eligible to receive immigration or citizenship advice from IARC.  You don’t have to be a migrant to receive legal advice from IARC. Many of our clients are Australian citizens or permanent residents seeking advice about bringing family to Australia.

We will also advise people detained in Immigration Detention anywhere in Australia.

Will you share my information, including advice, with my support worker?

We will only share information with a third party (such as a support worker) if a client gives us express consent to do so. Consent can be verbal or in writing.

Can I bring a friend to the appointment?

Yes, you can bring a friend to the appointment.

English is not my first language/I struggle with English. How will IARC communicate with me?

If a client requires an interpreter, IARC can use the Telephone Interpreting Service (TIS). There is no charge to the client for this service.

I am in a relationship and experiencing family violence from my partner. Can IARC help me?

IARC can give confidential legal advice to someone who is experiencing family violence and is still in the relationship with their sponsor.

Can IARC represent me?

Unfortunately, due to limited capacity and resources, IARC is only able to represent clients in limited circumstances.

IARC does on occasion, subject to capacity and resources, provide ongoing assistance to some clients in the form of one off advice sessions throughout their immigration matter.

I live in regional NSW. How can I get advice from IARC?

IARC can provide advice and assistance by phone to people who live in regional areas.

What issues does IARC advise on?

You can find all the visas and issues that IARC advises on here.

Can IARC give me advice over email?

Unfortunately IARC does not have capacity to advise over email. Please contact IARC on 02 8234 0700 if you require legal advice.

I am outside Australia. Can IARC help me?

Unfortunately, IARC is unable to give advice to people outside Australia.

You will need to contact a commercial registered migration agent. You can find a list of Australian migration agents at the Office of Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA) https://www.mara.gov.au/

I am outside NSW. Can IARC help me?

IARC generally only provides advice to people living in New South Wales and the ACT or who are in immigration detention. In limited circumstances we may be able to assist clients outside New South Wales and the ACT if they are unable to access migration advice in their state or territory.

If you are in Victoria, you may be eligible for assistance from:

Refugee Legal
03 9413 0100

Victoria Legal Aid
1300 792 387

If you are in Queensland, you may be eligible for assistance from:

Refugee and Immigration Legal Service
07 3846 9300

If you are in any other state or territory, call us on 02 8234 0700 (Mon-Fri 9am-4pm) to see if we can assist you.