Immigration in Australia is stringently monitored by the authorities who do their best to ensure that visa applicants are not troubled by rogue migration agents. By law, all the migration agents are expected to register with the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA).
The members of MARA need to meet some knowledge requirements: they must be Australian Legal Practitioners or should have completed graduate certificate in Australian Migration Law and Practice. They are required to complete the courses in these fields before they can operate legally in Australia. If you are intending to apply your Australian visa application with the help of an agent, make sure that they are members of the MARA family. Giving migration advice without being registered is illegal and can result in legal action by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) Australia.
By engaging with an unregistered agent, there is a risk that your application will not be submitted properly, risking your chance of visa success. Someone who is not registered with DIBP can help you with:
- Filling out forms and required documents,
- Understanding forms and documents,
- Finding out your eligibility of visa, and
- Providing you information about your visa application
However, they cannot :
- Tell you which visa to apply for,
- Show you how to apply for a visa,
- Use their personal experience to help you.
Things to watch out to avoid any migration fraud :
- Misleading information: A rogue operator may introduce himself as someone with some sort of ‘agreement’ with DIBP, whereby clients are automatically granted visas. This never happens.
- Request for upfront payment: Visa application fees are paid when your application is lodged, and never before this and you are able to pay these fees yourself. The only fees you may be required to pay prior to submission are the migration agent’s own.
- A long wait: Some visa applications take a substantial amount of time to evaluate the eligibility. Thus, before applying, investigate about the average processing time so that you are aware if something is not right.
- Original documents: DIBP only requires the certified copies of your original documents. They do ask for the originals at times, but they are couriered back as soon as possible. Your agent does not need to hang onto your original papers. If he does, he’s not the one!
- Deals that seem too good to be true: Once-in-a-lifetime visas never exist. If your agent promises you one, beware!
How to make sure that your migration agent is registered :
- Ask! : You can always ask to see his registration number.
- Check the MARA website : All the registered migration agents are listed on the MARA website. Simply go to ‘Find an Agent’ link, and then search the agent with his name, business name or Migration Agent Registration Number (MARN). If he would be operating legally, his name will show up in the list. You can also find a registered migration agent by searching your postcode.
Don’t risk your Australian visa application by submitting it through an unreliable agent. Be aware of your rights and do a research, particularly when it comes to application fees. Always check to ensure that your migration agent is registered with the Office of MARA.
For all your immigration needs and expert advice, visit the Edge Migration, a registered Australian migration agent in Melbourne that helps people start a new life in the kangaroo land. By offering a full range of tailored visa services, we work with our clients in every step of the way until their visa is granted. Contact us today for more insights!