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MIGRATION BUSINESS LAW

QUESTION

Jonathan Low is a registered migration agent. Most of his work involves assisting clients with applications for business migration under Class EB Business Skills (Provisional) subclass 188 Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa. Most of his clients, fall under the Significant Investment Stream where they invest AUD5 million in a complying significant investment. Jonathan recommends his clients to invest the funds with a specific merchant bank, and he receives a commission of 1.2% of the investment in the bank.

LML6008 Migration Business Law

Recently, one of his clients, Eric Wu, from Hong Kong, for whom Jonathan had lodged a subclass 188 visa in the Significant Investment Stream, was advised by Home Affairs that the investment by the bank was a non-complying investment. Eric was extremely angry when he received this letter and rang Jonathan’s office. Jonathan was unavailable and his assistant, who is not a migration agent, tried to calm Eric down and said that everything should be okay as Jonathan has a close relationship with the merchant bank. This is the first time that Eric heard that Jonathan had a relationship with the merchant bank. Jonathan’s assistant said that she would contact Home Affairs as there was a misunderstanding about the situation. Eric was belligerent and said that he had paid Jonathan approximately $50,000 for his professional fees and this situation was unacceptable. After this phone call, Jonathan rang Eric and told Eric that he wishes to continue to act for Eric despite the problem.

The next day Eric consulted another migration agent who requested Eric’s file from Jonathan. Jonathan responded that he had a right of lien over the file as there was an outstanding fee of $2,600 that had not been paid by Eric and he was not going to hand over the file. As soon as the outstanding payment is received, he will hand over the file.

Jonathan is now concerned about the situation as he understands that Eric is a difficult and demanding client.

What potential violations of the Code of Conduct would Jonathan have committed in these circumstances and what would you, as a registered migration agent, have done differently if you were acting for Eric in these circumstances?

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