I often hear many would-be immigrants and their partners ask "Why Should I use a Registered Migration Agent?" Let me explain the key reasons in this short post:
1. Registered Migration Agents are the only people who can legally give you migration advice in Australia
In Australia, migration agents must be registered with the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA), unless they are exempt from registration. Only registered migration agents (RMA) can legally give migration assistance in Australia. A migration agent is separated from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) and cannot approve your visa. However, a migration agent can:
Advice you on the visa that may best suit your situation and on all other visa matters,
Tell you the documents you need to submit with your application,
Help you fill in the application and submit it
Communicate with DIBP or other organisations on your behalf.
2. Registered Migration Agents are bound by a stringent Code of Conduct to look out for your best interest
The Migration Agent Code of Conduct outlines the key requirements that a registered agent must adhere to in order to ensure that quality migration advice is given to their clients. This code mandates that for an agent to remain registered they must, among other things, ensure that the advice they give to clients is for the clients best interest and if a case seems very improbable, to be honest and forthcoming about the matter. Imagine if used care sales men had to be this honest!
People who give migration advice or assistance that are not registered are not bound by this code, so be cautious in using their services as you cannot guarantee that your best interest is in their mind, as they are not accountable to this code!
3. Registered Migration Agents need to know their stuff!
Australian migration law is constantly changing. Your friend who has been granted the same visa that you would like to apply now, 6 months ago, may not have the correct and updated information that would be crucial to you. The non-registered agent may be relying on online forums and out dated databases to give you advice.
A Registered Migration Agent, on the other hand, can only remain registered if they keep abreast of all changing legislation and rulings. In fact to be registered, Migration Agents must have access to an updated library of migration acts and regulations and attend a mandated amount of continuing professional development (CPD) course each year to ensure that they stay relevant.
4. Doing it yourself can be confusing, time consuming and costly
There are over 200 different Visa pathways available to immigrants coming into Australia. Each with various restrictions, documents and eligibility criteria. Finding the pathway most suited to your personal situation may not be that simple. A registered agent can help you determine which pathway is best for you.
Even when you do know which pathway you are most eligible to apply for, the application forms and procedure can be just as confusing. A registered agent can help guide you and review your documents and application to ensure it is of acceptable quality.
Finally, a migration agent may seem like an additional expense, but in fact they are an investment. This is because the cost of applying for a visa is quite substantial, so paying that money and not ensuring that your application is of the best quality possible could lead to a refusal and a waste of time, money and effort.
Why trust your future plans to visit, study, work or live in Australia in the hands of non qualified people? You wouldn't go see an unregistered doctor for medical advice if your life depended on it, would you?
Trust the professionals and talk to a registered migration agent today. Registered agents can be found on MARA's website along with the code of conduct.
(The Author of this Article is Anna Molina, A registered Migration Agent and Principal Migration Agent for Sophos Migration Specialist MARN 1461034 - Contact Sophos for any further enquiries)