Difference between Registered Migration Agents VS Lawyers VS Accredited Immigration Specialist

Published on April 19, 2024

Accredited Specialist in Immigration Law

An accredited specialist is a lawyer who has demonstrated a high level of expertise and competence in a particular area of law.  

They have completed a rigorous assessment process by the Law Society of their state or territory and must maintain their accreditation by undertaking ongoing professional development.  

Accredited Immigration Specialists are issued with a seal from the relevant state law society or the words “Accredited Specialist” after their name on letterhead or marketing material.  

Currently, there are only approximately about 100 accredited specialists in immigration law in the whole of Australia. 

You should seek assistance from accredited specialists if you have a highly complex or sensitive migration matter, or simply just would like to have the best and the brightest minds to work on your case. 

Pathway to become an Accredited Specialist:

Legal Practitioners (Lawyers)

Since March 2021, lawyers are no longer regulated by the Office of Migration Agents Regulation Authority (OMARA) and instead are governed by the Law Society of the state in which they practice.  

Immigration law is one of many areas of law and arguably, one of the most complex. Not all lawyers are experienced in immigration law as it is an incredibly niche area of law. Lawyers must hold a valid practicing certificate however they do not require their Legal Practitioner Number (LPN) to provide immigration advice.  

Lawyers can represent clients in Tribunal, and Courts. 

The pathway to becoming a Legal Practitioner (Lawyer) is as below: 

Registered Migration Agent (RMA)

To become an RMA, one completes the Graduate Diploma of Australian Migration Law and Practice along with the Capstone assessment. RMAs can lawfully provide immigration assistance for all matters with the exception of representing their client in court. They are regulated by the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (OMARA).  

The pathway to becoming an RMA is as follows:

What is a MARN

A little tip when considering hiring a lawyer or an RMA for your case – ask them for their “MARN”. MARN stands for Migration Agents Registration Number. 

The first two digits of MARN represent the year that they were registered to practice. 

As MARN for lawyers was abolished since March 2021, if a lawyer advises that they never had one, this will mean that they have been practising immigration law after March 2021. 

Our principal lawyer, Kris Ahn’s MARN was 1171577 – as he was first registered with OMARA to practice migration law since 2011. 


Kris Ahn Lawyers are specialists in Immigration Law. Our principal lawyer, Kris Ahn is an Accredited Specialist in Immigration Law. At one point, he was the youngest Accredited Specialist in Immigration and one of only 5 lawyers who passed the accreditation exam in 2016.  

Kris holds the knowledge and specialisation in Immigration Law matters including complex cases, Appeals and Court hearings.  

Kris is often invited to educate and train other lawyers and RMAs in all aspects of migration law. 

At Kris Ahn Lawyers, the team of lawyers look after the clients. Our lawyers have expertise in immigration law, and they cater clients from different backgrounds. Our Lawyers are multilingual (English, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Mandarin, Punjabi, and Hindi).  

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Disclaimer: Not Legal Advice

The information provided in this blog post/article is for general informational purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice or create a representative-client relationship. While we strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information, the content may not reflect the most current legal developments or specific circumstances.

Do not rely solely on the information presented here – but please book in a consultation with us to see how you this information applies to you and may benefit you. Any reliance on the material in this post is at your own risk.

Remember Australian immigration law is considered most complex laws in Australia. Seek professional legal advice tailored to your individual needs before making any decisions based on the content of this post.