Migrating to a new country whether it’s for study, work or permanent residency is a huge step that requires a lot of forethought before taking the plunge. Having someone to hold your hand in the process is vital to avoid falling victim to scams, false information and inflated processing fees.
Given that the number of migration agents in Australia is so huge, how exactly should you go about identifying a suitable migration agent to help with a visa application process?
Find Out If a Migration Agency Has An Area Of Specialisation
There are many different types of Australian visas, and migration agencies support applicants in a broad field or specialise with specific types of visas. When narrowing down a choice for a migration agent, you may find it helpful to find out which area an agent has the most experience dealing in.
Carry out A Little Background Check On Migration Agency
Migration agents in Australia must be registered with the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA), so a good place to begin is to find out if they have a MARA Registration Number. Next, find out how customers rate the agency by checking their feedback section or reading social media posts about the company; this should give you a good idea about their performance. You can also glean information from their website on how long they’ve been in operation.
Get A Breakdown Of Its Packages And Fees
Once you enlist the services of an agent, they should give you a written agreement setting out in a contract the details of their services including how much they will charge. The contract should also list the type of visa you are applying for – for example, Australian 457 visa. The different services you are expected to pay for should be itemised. Your contract should also specify when you need to pay and how. Their fees should comply with the guidelines established by MARA.
Assess The Agent’s Response Time
Before you commit yourself to paying any fees, make a point of calling the migration agent’s number, or sending them an email to find out firsthand how quick they are in responding to customer queries. If they get back to you in a timely and efficient way, then it’s a thumb up for them; if you have to call again and follow up before they respond, this may be a red flag about the quality of their services.
Find Out If They Provide Honest Assessment
Registered migration agents are bound by a professional code of conduct which means they should give you honest advice at all times. If the agent appears over-optimistic about your chances of success when applying for a working or pr visa, this should ring alarm bells. You should also be on the lookout for agents who appear too eager to get you to sign a contract with them – a good migration agent allows you the time and space to make your own decisions without undue pressure.
Gauge their Attitude
Last but not least, a prospective agent should have the right approach. Remember that getting a visa is a drawn out process, and you can expect to spend a lot of time making enquiries on your visa progress. A good agent is approachable, and you should be comfortable enough to ask them any question and give suggestions to make the process smoother.