Why use a migration agent?

Applying for a Visa can be a daunting and anxiety provoking task. Applying for some visas can be relatively straight forward, such as a holiday visa, other visa applications can be incredibly complicated and require an in-depth knowledge of the specific countries Laws and visa processes.

Each country, and some states, has their own immigration policy and this determines the complexity and depth of information required to ascertain if a would-be applicant reaches the minimum set of requirements and if there is available quota of visas available.

It is not the goal of any immigration department to make a visa application complex or difficult for, although it may feel like it, immigration departments need to ensure that visas are only provided to persons who meet the immigration requirements.

The prerequisites required for a complete visa application can be very long and complex and may require the validation of multiple governmental agencies from different countries, such as police and educational certification checks, and may also require the skills of preauthorised specialised personal for medical examination and checks.

Form filling is only one aspect of the visa application process, it you don’t meet the requirements set by the visa you wish to apply for you may be just filling in visa applications with no chance of obtaining a visa. An Individuals circumstances such as education, age, health, family, criminal record and more can, and in most permanent resident visas is, taken into consideration by the immigration departments. Immigration departments do change their immigration laws and requirements when they see fit, which can mean that you may fit the requirements for a successful visa application on one day and not be eligible for the same visa the next.

In is doubtful that someone with little or no knowledge of the particular countries immigration laws and visas process and requirements would be able to successful apply for a visas without significant effort, time and risk. Even a small error in terminology or incorrect interpretation can have a significant effect on the validity of a visa application, noting that it is not the job of immigration department to check and assist visa applicant in their visa application. One error, however small, could leave you with the visa being rejected.

A skilled migration agent would be able to assist you and guide you through the various different types of visas that may suit your circumstances and provided you with up to date information on immigration requirements and laws. In addition to providing you with up to date information on the visa requirements, migration agents can and often complete the required paper work on your behalf and often lodge the application for you which can shorten the time before obtaining your visa.

If your circumstances mean that you are unable to obtain the visa you wish for, a migration agent may provide you with various avenues or bridging visa options that you may wish to consider allowing you to obtain the visa you originally wanted at a later date.

Migration agents are business and don’t readily provide services for free, hence you will have to pay for their assistance. The type of visa and depth of services can and generally determine the fees required for such assistance.

Be warned migration agents are not accountable to you or any immigration department, some may provide a good service and others may not. Contact the immigration department of the country you wish to move to for specific migrant agent requirements or accreditation's.

If you do use a registered migration agent, the services they offer will generally include:

  • Advising you on what visa may best suit you (if any) out of Australia's 140+ visa options.
  • Providing you with an honest opinion about your chances of success.
  • Providing you with a firm, written quote of their fees to represent you, including details of any application components such as medicals and translation expenses that will represent additional costs.
  • Ensuring that the documents you will need for your application are of a standard that meets the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship's requirements and that of the relevant State Government, if necessary.
  • Assisting you with any complexities or points of law that might apply to your unique case.
  • Ensuring your application form is completed correctly and accompanied by the correct fee, so your application is valid - the Department is legally unable to consider invalid applications.
  • Preparing a legislatively based submission to support your application and present you in the best possible light.
  • Lodging your application, monitor its progress and liaise with the Australian Government on your behalf.
  • In the event that your application is not successful, apply for Ministerial intervention (if appropriate), submit an appeal and/or represent you at tribunal hearing.
  • Often provide you with follow up and subsidiary services, if required.

A few things to be aware of, if you retain a migration agent:

  • To provide migration advice in Australia, an agent needs to be registered with the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA) - it is a criminal act for unregistered advisers to provide such advice and the Government views it so seriously that such persons risk penalties of up to 10 years' imprisonment. Migration agents providing advice outside Australia are not required to be registered and are not bound by the MARA’s stringent requirements.
  • No migration agent can guarantee that you will be 100% successful in your application - in fact it's against the MARA's Code of Conduct to make such a claim (you can find the Code of Conduct on www.themara.com.au).
  • Migration agents are prohibited from implying that they have a special relationship with government that will benefit their clients.

To find out whether the person offering you migration and visa advice is registered, you can search the Register of Agents on the MARA’s website. If you don’t have access to a computer, you can obtain a hard copy of the register from MARA. Your search should result in a listing similar to this: Sukhjinder Sandhu (Sukh Sandhu). Alternatively, you could ask them for their seven digit MARN – a registration number allocated by the MARA only to duly registered migration agents.