Choosing the Best Migration Agent
A migration agent can assist you to obtain a visa that could change your life for the better or if the visa application process fails hurt your life drastically. So please think carefully about how to choose a good migration agent.
Following are ten tips of things to consider when selecting a migration agent. Of course, these are just tips and no guarantee of finding the best agent.
1) First the perennial question. Should I hire an agent or a lawyer? Frankly, both can do the same job unless you have a complex case that requires ministerial intervention or Judicial review. Whether you choose an agent or a lawyer, you still have the tough choice of which specific agent or lawyer to use. If you can get a recommendation from someone you trust who has used a good lawyer or agent, do consider that expert. Trust is an important commodity in any market. If you don’t have any good recommendations, then research lawyers and agents and choose several possibilities from both of these camps. What matters is the individual experience, skill and integrity of the professional you choose.
2) Read online reviews of the migration agencies and lawyer offices you are considering. Choose two or three agents and lawyers you think are good, do a consultation with each of them and then select the one you consider best for you and your case. This consultation is especially important if your case is complicated and will be expensive.
3) One of the first questions to ask the prospective agent or lawyer is: Do you specialize in immigration work or is that just one area of your practice? A lawyer, for example, might practise in many arenas of the law, such as migration, family law, litigation, and so on. A migration agent is trained and registered to work specifically in this field.
4) Be prepared for your consultancy meeting. Bring your relevant documents, know your circumstances re your education background, countries of origin, work experience, any job offers you may have had, and so forth. Ask the agent about all the visa options that are available to you. Ask about any important issues that confuse you. Ask what ALL the fees will be, from the government and from the agent. The agent should be able to clearly explain all fees. Compare these costs to quotes from other companies you consult. For initial consultations, usually lasting around 60 minutes, fees can vary. Some agents do this for free and others charge for this service.
5) If you know what visa you need, during the consultation ask the agent specifically about that visa and if he is expert in it. Migration agents do specialize in and are more experienced in specific visas. For example, one agent might specialize in spouse and 457 work visas, but not in temporary visas for entertainers, and so forth.
6) The agent should honestly assess your case, not be scaremongering and not be pollyannish. You do want to know if your agent is confident or not in your case and what his reasons are for this.
7) Have your interactions with the agent and his office been efficient, timely and friendly? Did you gel with the agent during your meeting? Is this someone you trust and want to spent a lot of time with and pay significant amounts of money to?
8) Will the agent update you about any changes to the law during your processing time and reasonably update you regarding your filing status?
9) Be sure to sign an agreement that clearly states what the agent and yourself will do. Read and approve the payment schedule. You must be prompt with any payments. Remember, this agreement is a legally binding business agreement for both parties.
10) Relax. Don’t over worry the process of selecting an agent. Most agents and lawyers are competent professionals who will get the job done. But it behoves you to do your due diligence when selecting any professional to do work for you, whether it be a doctor, mechanic, computer technician or legal adviser. Use the above tips as a general guide to help you choose an agent appropriate for you. All the best to you regarding the agent or lawyer you choose and for your time in Australia.
Migration Ways, leading immigration agents in Australia, can be contacted here.