INFORMATION ON SELECTING
AN AUSTRALIA IMMIGRATION AGENT
Gareth and I wanted our move to Australia to be an enjoyable one with the minimum stress and disappointment.
It was because of this along with a conversation I had with a work colleague (they applied themselves first time round and had their application turned down) that made us decide that it was worth paying to use a migrant agent.
Do your Research on Life in Australia First
Of course we did some research first and even visited Perth for our honeymoon so we could check what life was like in Perth. At the time could not find a lot of information on the internet other than the
DIMIA website and a couple of the expat sites (hence the introduction of Immigrate Perth). If you want to move to Perth then I will be constantly adding more and more information so save me in your favorites and drop in for a regular update. Or if you have anything special you would like me to feature then drop me a line.
Anyway back to migration to Perth. You first want to get an initial idea of what to expect:-
- what the process is?
- How long it is likely to take?
- How much it is going to cost?
- Is it a Life Style you will be happy with?
- What Visa do you need?
- Are you eligible for a Visa?
There are so many different Australian visas and some take longer and are more complex than others.
If it is a skilled migrant visa it can depend on your skill and your destination State or Territory to how quick you are processed.
You can get some great tips from people who have already been through the process with many threads on websites such as britishexpats or you can speak to a migrant agent. Migrant agents are dealing with applications all the time so should be able to give you an idea of processing times etc…..
Initial Interview with a Registered Migrant Agent
In an initial interview a migrant agent should be able to:-
- Assess your chances of successfully migrating to Australia.
- Tell you what options are available to you and which one is the most suitable for your circumstances. (You may not be aware of the most suitable visa for your circumstances, because there are lots of visa subclasses).
Many migration agents will not charge for an initial telephone call of around 15 minutes and some offer a no visa no fee option. They are that confident with the service they offer their clients that they will put their payment in trust until you have your visa approved, it is only then they get paid.
When we moved to Perth we used Ian Harrop Associates. Ian Harrop are a registered migrant agent based in Burford, Oxfordshire UK. We were very pleased with their friendly and helpful service.
At Ian Harrop they do not conduct an on-line assessment system. This is because they believe that a proper assessment can only be conducted by discussing your circumstances with you.
Often matters such as occupational classification, character issues, family matters etc, can be too complex for on-line assessment.
If you want an assessment of your prospects, you are asked to phone on , 01993 824 111 for a personalised assessment.
Ian Harrop do not charge for telephone assessments.
OR if you prefer to complete a form on line to find out your likely success rate then follow this link to the Ian Harrop website and complete a form
The Service to expect from a Registered Migrant Agent?
A good migrant agent will guide you through the total migration process from the initial eligibility assessment to arriving in Australia.
They will be available to offer guidance and answer questions you may have and generally offer the following type of service:-
- An initial telephone interview for free. It will give them an opportunity to ask a few questions and get an idea of your circumstances and the probability of your visa application being successful. A Migrant Agent should not agree to take your case on if they know it will not be accepted.
- Advise you what visa may best suit your needs and discuss alternative options available
- Advise you of the documents you will need for your application;
- Assist you filling out the application form (guidance here can be critical with some types of visa);
- Submit your application on your behalf and deal with the department. Yhis should save you heaps of time as they will take responsibility of seeing the application is prepared correctly and all the right documents are submitted)
- Keep you informed about the status of the application alongside any relevant changes to policy or regulations that could affect the outcome of your application.
- Some will even provide assistance once you arrive in Australia. Organising your initial accommodation, car hire etc…
How to choose a Registered Migrant Agent
So you are going to take the plunge and make the big move. You want to use a registered agent but know what to look for in a migration agent?
Key things include:-
The Migrant Agent will be Registered with MARA
Ask your consultant for their Registered Migration Agent Number and if in any doubt ask to see a copy of the Registration Certificate.
Before they can operate in Australia a migration agent must be registered with the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA). Before they can be registered the agent must be able to demonstrate a sound knowledge of immigration policy and procedure. They must also practice in accordance with a Code of Conduct, which is incorporated in Australian Migration law.
MARA is a body you can complain to if you are dissatisfied with the service you receive. They will thoroughly investigate your claim and where the agent is found to be dishonest or incompetent cancel their registration.
BE AWARE of non registered migrant agents as they can be found operating in countries outside Australia, where Australian law does not apply. If you use an unregistered offshore agent you are taking a real risk
They will not be accountable to any Australian authority for their actions and have not had to demonstrate any knowledge of Australian migration policy and procedures.
Using a MARA registered agent protects you in terms of integrity, competence and accountability Unfortunately this does not extend to non registered migrant agents.
Be a member of the Migration Institute of Australia (MIA)
Ask if the agent is a member of the MIA. Ask them for their membership number and, if in any doubt, ask to see a copy of the Membership Certificate.
The MIA has its own Code of Conduct with which all members must abide.
The MIA investigates any complaints against members. If you are unhappy with the service provided you can complain to the MIA as well as MARA.
Experienced in dealing with your type of case?
You will find that some migration agents specialise in particular types of Australian Visas so it is worth asking agents about their experience dealing with your particular requirements.
How Much Can You Expect A Migrant Agent To Charge For Their Services?
MARA publish a document on their website. It provides average fees and a range of fees charged by the Migrant Agents who have renewed their registration in the last 6 months.
NB: BE AWARE that the level of service received from the migrant agents will differ and probably reflected in the price.
Some agents simply send you out a pack, with all the forms to fill in yourself. Other agents will complete all the forms for you. Talk to the agent about the level of service you want and get it documented in the letter of engagement so as to avoid any confusion. Also confirm with your agent if they offer a fee guarantee.
Letter of Engagement
Once you've selected the migrant agent you are going to use ask them for a letter of engagement. This should include details such as:-
the class of visa to be applied for
the agent’s fee, payable schedule
services to be provided for the fee,
Outline of the timetable they will be working to so you know what you need to expect to happen and when, and
Additional payments they will be required, such as DIMIA fees they will pay on your behalf and when they will need to be paid.
REMEMBER that applying for a visa can takes time and can be a complicated process. Using a registered migration agents will give you access to specific knowledge and skills. Incomplete or inaccurate visa applications will lead to time delays and may possibly require re-application – which is especially critical given that the Government will not refund application fees;