Last updated on November 27th, 2018
Once I finalised the country, the next immediate question for me was to go with a migration agent or not. I am sure it will be an important question for all those who are trying to migrate to Australia. It’s a very important question and sometimes, the choice can dictate your fate.
If you ask this question in the online forums, you will get mixed opinions – some people fiercely advise against using agents while some others highly recommend them. Which way should you go? You can’t simply toss a coin and accept the outcome. You have to know both good and bad things about going with agents. So in this post, I will present you both sides of the coin and let you decide.
Why Go With The Migration Agent?
Peace of Mind
The immigration process can be quite unnerving, especially for those who are quite new to the whole thing. Often people are worried about making a mistake which can delay or reject your visa application. Many times, people are too busy and don’t want to spend a lot of time to research the visa process, forms required, proof-reading the documents, following-up with immigration authority and so on. They find it more suitable to offload such work to an immigration agent due to her knowledge and experience.
Every individual has different needs and case history when it comes to visa. Therefore, the visa process might be slightly different for each person. This can make things complicated and you need an expert to sort the things out for you. That’s where an expert migration agent can help you.
One thing which nobody can deny about a good agent is her wealth of knowledge and experience in the area of immigration. In the case of Australia, all migration agents must be registered with the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA). Besides being a trained expert, a migration agent also has the responsibility to maintain high professional conduct and integrity. As such, an agent can help you decide which visa to choose or suggest alternatives if you are not eligible for a certain visa or even a country.
The immigration process is 20% about what you are and 80% to prove that you are what you say you are. I remember, in my case, I had to create a special folder structure in my laptop just so that I can categorize set of documents required at each stage of visa. Often, you can find heaps of formats online for each step and it can quickly get confusing. With nobody to give you the right direction, you may feel lost and unsure which format to go with. Authorized Migration agent can be of immense help in these situations and can often provide you with ready-to-use templates.
Evaluation of Case
When I started looking for immigration options, I was not sure whether which country has better prospects with respect to my skills. I went to a migration consultant who studied my case and gave me an evaluation suggesting which countries I can move to. This helped me quickly make up my mind about migrating to Australia. An evaluation like this, takes into account your career history, education, the job market in prospective countries etc. and costs very less. It saves a lot of money and time which otherwise would be wasted in the immigration process only to know at the end that your skills are not really in demand in that country. You can avoid this by doing research on your own too but a professional help can make a big difference in deciding your options.
Why Not To Go With Migration Agent?
As immigration agents are authorized to handle your case, they are often the first ones to know about progress in your case. Many times, due to heavy workload, agents may not be able to give you up-to-date information about your progress. Delays can also be caused as the documents that you upload need to be reviewed by the agent and submitted to DIBP. Rarely, people can get their visa rejected due to errors in the submitted application or documents not submitted on time. Additionally, people can feel quite anxious while waiting for the outcome and not having any means to get the information.
An Immigration agent may not be reachable at all times especially if he has a small team and a lot of cases. This can often result in frustrating experiences for the applicants as they have to wait for agents to get back to them.
Filing a visa application is a costly affair in itself. In addition, if you engage a migration agent to file your visa, it’s going to cost you significantly more. With so much information on the DIBP website and other online resources, many people feel it as simply, “waste of money”. Often, migration agencies combine their offer with other services such as job hunting to squeeze more money out of the potential client.
Though it is illegal to provide immigration advice/services without getting registered as a MARA agent, many agents operate in this domain, nonetheless. Often such agents give people false assurance of getting the visa or landing a job on arrival to lure potential candidate. Some agents might advise you to tweak your skillset on paper to match the occupations currently in demand for the visa. Some might ask your original documents such as passport, birth certificate etc. or ask you to pay them which in turn they will pay to immigration authority. Such illegal practices are abundant and can, in fact, cause permanent damage to an applicant.
Many agents offer post-visa services along with migration services. You may encounter agents who will ask you to pay for packages for services like resume writing, assistance in job hunting, post-landing services such as finding accommodation, meeting recruiters etc. Needless to say, all these unnecessary services are added by agents with the intention to get more money out of applicants and serve no real purpose.
Little Help in Actual Process
Even when you seek the professional services of an agent, you still have to do a lot of work yourselves. In a typical visa process, almost 80% of the work such as collecting appropriate documents, scanning and notarizing them, filling out necessary forms, paying the visa fees, getting medicals and Police clearance is done by the applicant. An agent can only help to proofread the documents or answer your queries.
Things To Look For In A Good Migration Agent?
If you make up your mind and decide to go with an agent, here is the checklist of things which you should know about an agent.
Make sure that your agent
- Is a registered MARA agent
- Gives honest and correct information about specific things you are looking for immigration, such as jobs. You need to do your own research to find this out.
- Has a good amount of relevant experience in the area of immigration
- Has good reviews from past candidates. You can check this online or ask your agent to show some testimonials
- Gives you a reasonable estimate of her fees and that there are no hidden charges or bloated offerings
- Is polite, good in communication skills, provides honest feedback about your case and works in a professional manner
These are some of the yardsticks which you can apply to gauge the agent’s performance. However, you can apply your own benchmarks to find out which agent is right for you.
Whichever way you want to go, one final tip: be wise, do your research and then choose carefully. Remember, the efforts that you will put in finding a good agent will go long way towards the successful and timely outcome.
What was your experience with the migration agent? Did you choose one or did your visa on your own? Pour your heart out in the comments below.
Moving To Australia Series
- Moving To Australia – The Idea
- 10 Reasons Why I Chose Australia
- Which Work Visa Is Right For You?
- Should I Go With Migration Agent?
- Introduction To Skilled Visa Points System
- How To Prepare For Skills Assessment – Part 1
- How To Prepare For Skills Assessment – Part 2
- How To Clear IELTS In First Attempt – Part 1
- How To Clear IELTS In First Attempt – Part 2
- How To Clear IELTS In First Attempt – Part 3
- EOI – Express Your Desire To Migrate
- Getting Visa Invitation
- Lodging Visa Application And Making Visa Payment
- Getting Evidence of Functional English
- Undergoing Health Examination – The Whole Story
- Getting Indian PCC And The Road Ahead