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Top Reasons Why You Work with an registered Migration Agent
So you’ve decided to leave your home country and move to Australia. You think you know what visa to apply for and are ready to start the application process. So why should you hire a Migration Agent to do the visa application process for you?
You don’t have to use a migration agent to apply for a visa but if you do, you should use a registered migration agent.
Registered migration agents must keep up-to-date with current laws and procedures. Only registered migration agents can give you immigration assistance.
Immigration assistance is:
- help to prepare a visa application
- providing advice to a visa applicant about their application
- helping prepare a document in connection with the sponsorship of a visa applicant, or to advise the sponsor
- preparing for proceedings, before a court or a merits review tribunal such as the Administrative Appeals Tribunals, or representing someone at those proceedings
- helping to prepare a request to the Minister to exercise certain powers under the Migration Act in relation to a visa applicant
There are a number of reasons why you should hire a migration agent to assist you in the very complex process of securing an Australian visa. Below we list common top reasons why hiring a Migration Agent is the best thing you can do when migrating to Australia.
1. Doing it on Your Own? You Have a High Risk of Refusal & Migration Agent Success Rate
The Australian visa system is very strict – if you make one wrong move you put yourself at high risk of refusal. Just in the migration year (2017-18) refusals have gone up by a massive 46.2%! Many refusals come from applicants making little mistakes such as uploading the wrong documents or not uploading enough substantial evidence. If you want to avoid these mistakes, it’s best to hire a Migration Agent to do the job for you as they ensure your application has all the evidence it needs before it is submitted.
It’s also important to remember that government fees are non-refundable. This means you’ll be out of pocket by a couple grand with nothing to show for it if your visa is refused. Additionally, having a visa refusal leaves a permanent mark on your immigration record. This means the refusal may affect your chances of success if you decide to apply for another visa to Australia. So paying for a Migration Agent may be a small price to pay in the long run of securing your visa.
2. Visas Can be More Complicated than they Appear
A good example of this is Graduate Temporary Subclass 485 visas.
Many students lodge these themselves without an agent, without realising that the requirements are quite complex. However, many students do not get the result that they expect and we’ve seen the following:
- Students selecting the wrong stream, and ending up with either a refusal or a visa which is shorter than they expected
- Missing key time of application requirements (for example providing evidence of English language testing, health insurance, AFP clearances) and being refused. If you miss an essential time of application requirement, it is usually not possible to fix this, even if appealing to the AAT (Administrative Appeals Tribunal)
- Getting the timing wrong – for example lodging without a proper completion letter confirming the date of completion or on the same day they complete and being refused.
- An Expert Migration Agent will thoroughly understand both the Migration Regulations and the Department of Immigration Procedures Advice Manual. They will also have comprehensive pre-lodgement checklists to ensure that essential requirements are not missed at lodgement.
3. Migration Rules Change Constantly
The migration landscape changes constantly – an option which may have been a good one last year may now not be possible. So far, we have seen:
- Major Changes to the Skilled Occupations Lists for General Skilled Migration, 457 and ENS
- Much higher points scores required for SkillSelect invitations for Skilled Independent Subclass 189 visas
- Several states have made significant changes to their State Migration Plans (eg Tasmania, ACT, Queensland, Victoria)
- Partner visas now must be lodged online with paper applications no longer being accepted
Part of a migration agent’s job is to keep up to date with all changes to Migration Rules and settings, so that they can ensure that their clients are aware of all opportunities as they arise.
Qualifying for migration to Australia is getting more competitive, so having a skilled migration agent on your side can give you a big advantage.
4. Dealing with the Department of Immigration can be Difficult
Due to funding cuts and an increase in the number of visa applications lodged, the Department of Immigration is less accessible than was previously the case.
They now prefer to deal with clients electronically, and getting through on the phone is very difficult
Visa applications are now processed by teams, and you will no longer have a dedicated case manager processing your file. This makes it difficult to discuss any special circumstances which may apply to your case
Immigration is indicating that they will refuse applications where they are not fully documented
Where they do ask for further information, the request from Immigration can be difficult to understand – applicants can easily make a mistake and not provide the documentation required
An experienced migration agent will ensure that your case is as fully documented so that any requests from Immigration are minimised. If you do receive a request for further information, they will be able to advise you clearly about which documentation will address the issues raised. Where necessary, they can escalate issues to management to get problems resolved.
5. Expert Legal Knowledge of Migration Law
The process of applying for a visa is a complex legal one. This means your application is going to be filled with legal jargon that you might not have a full understanding of. If you just make assumptions about the legal wording, you run the risk of submitting an application that won’t meet all the requirements – which can lead to your visa being rejected.
Migration Agents have often been working in the immigration system for years and know anything and everything to do with visa applications. They know all the legislative requirements, what documents are classed as ‘good’ evidence, and can ensure forms are filled out correctly. Additionally, Australia’s migration system is constantly changing and it’s a Migration Agents’ job to make sure they are completely up to date with all new laws and requirements.
It should be noted that not all Migration Agents are lawyers but all Migration Agents in Australia must have a certificate in Migration Law and be registered with the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA). If you want an agent with a little more legal know-how make sure to ask if they have also been omitted as a lawyer. Another benefit of contracting a lawyer Migration Agent is that if your visa is rejected, they can represent you if you chose to Appeal the decision in court.
6. Migration Agents Save You Time and Ease the Stress of the Situation
Many people go into the visa application process thinking it will be as easy as submitting a few documents and filling out a couple of forms. But this is definitely not the case. You have to make sure each form is filled out correctly, collect every shred of evidence that is valuable to the department, and liaise with the department. The process is very time-consuming and can be quite stressful. An experienced Migration Agent can handle this whole process for you.
Additionally, hiring a Migration Agent may save you from additional delays. Visa applications are often delayed when the department has to request for more information from the applicant. But with Migration Agents, they know all the evidence required for each visa type and will compile every document needed to make your application as strong as possible. This means you might be able to avoid the request for more information and head straight to approval.
7. Higher Success Rate
Although a visa application is never guaranteed to be successful, Migration Agents often have a higher success rate than regular applicants. For example, at IEAA we have an average success rate of 98%. This is because of the specialised knowledge and expertise that Migration Agents bring to the table. There are more than a hundred different visa subclasses to choose from and applicants often chose the wrong visa stream to go down. Migration Agents are able to assess your suitability and eligibility for each visa and are also able to determine the likely prospects of success.
8. You May Need a Backup Plan
With the migration landscape changing so quickly, it is a good idea to make sure that you are considering all relevant options rather than putting all your eggs into one basket.
Proficient migration agents will be able to advise you on all of the available options. They will be able to assist in identifying the one which is best suited to your situation. On top of this, they will be able to make sure that you keep your options open as long as possible, just in case changes to migration settings mean that the main option is no longer possible.
Due to the constant changes, obtaining permanent residence in Australia can be a highly stressful experience. Having a dedicated migration agent to guide you through all the ups and downs of the migration process can be a great comfort, aside from improving your chances of a successful outcome.
9. You May Only Have Once Chance to Get it Right
If your application is refused, this will usually mean that you lose the Department of Immigration application fees – which can be many thousands of dollars. However, there may be more significant ramifications such as:
- Refusal on the basis for false or misleading information can result in a 10-year ban on visa approvals
- Onshore refusal can result in a Section 48 bar – this would prevent you from lodging further visa applications from within Australia
- Some visa applications must be lodged within a certain timeframe for you to be eligible – such as the Graduate Skilled Subclass 485 visa
- Your age can be an important factor in many skilled visa types
- If the migration rules change after you lodge, you may not be able to re-lodge your application
- Capable migration agents will thoroughly check your application before it’s lodged, so that a simple mistake will not jeopardise your immigration future.
10. Licensed by the Department of Home Affairs (MARA)
Migration agents are licensed to represent their clients in all aspects of their application with the Department. This extends to dealing with other relevant organisations as required for your application (for example, a skill assessing body). Migration agents know what is required to lodge a ‘decision-ready application,’ meaning a complete application is submitted at time of lodgement. This will make it more likely that the Department will decide your application without incurring any additional delays, or refuse the application because documents have not been provided.
Migration agents solve problems. With migrations laws being so complex, the answer is sometimes not obvious. There are often opportunities that you may otherwise be unaware of, such as alternative visa pathways. Migration agents can identify these aspects and see things that may not be visible to someone who is not familiar with the process
Represent you on Appeal
If your application is refused, a migration agent can help you with your appeal and represent you in your dealings with the AAT.
Access to Information & Knowledge
Although information regarding visa requirements is available publicly, professionals who work in the industry often have an added insight into the things that you can do to make your application stronger, which is not always widely known. An example of this is the documentary evidence requirements. Even though document checklists are available publicly, migration agents may supplement the base evidence with certain documents which they feel, based on their professional skills and experience, require added support. A migration agent can, for example, prepare detailed written submissions. These may include relevant legislative and/or case law references to supplement certain aspects of the application. Some visa requirements do not have a black and white answer and presenting persuasive arguments can help get your application over the line. These subtleties can mean the difference between a successful outcome versus a refusal. Migration agents have access to restricted content, which is not publicly available, and which can be very beneficial for your application. One such example is Departmental policy, which sets out how Immigration interprets and applies the migration law in deciding visa applications. This is a valuable source of information for migration agents when advising clients and preparing applications.
It is often the case that there are many facets involved in compiling, preparing and lodging a visa application. The application form itself is just one part of the process and it is often the case that a number of additional aspects are required for visa grant. Examples include police clearances, health checks, specified English test results, skills assessments and health insurance. A migration agent will advise you about any such requirements that apply to your application and provide instructions for how to obtain them. They may also be able to organise a health insurance policy or apply for a police clearance on your behalf. Note that you cannot simply obtain any health insurance policy because it is the cheapest you can find. Similarly, submitting test results for an English test that you completed many years ago will not always be acceptable. Specific requirements apply and if you do not comply with them, your application will potentially be refused. Therefore, knowing this detail is vital to the success of your application
Referrals to trusted service providers
Migration-related matters can affect your obligations and/or rights in other areas of the law, such as taxation or family law. Migration agents can advise you when these types of issues arise and refer you to appropriate professionals for further advice.
IEAA ‘s migration agents have many years of experience and are ready and able to assist you to achieve your migration goals.
If you would like to work with us, the best way to proceed is to book a consultation with one of our advisors. Aside from outlining your migration options in writing, you will be able to judge for yourself what it’s like to work with IEAA and whether we are the right migration agent for you.
We have very high success rate. If you’re on the hunt for a Migration Agent, why not come in and meet ours? We offer a free initial consultation For Partner visa or Business Visa to assess your case!
You can book in for one here.