Are you planning to move to Australia? The visa process for any country can be confusing – and it’s normal to have some unanswered questions along the way. That’s why many people turn to migration agents for help.
In this blog, we’ll take a look at what exactly a migration agent can do for you – and what you should keep in mind if you decide to hire one:
What is a migration agent?
A migration agent provides immigration advice and assistance. In Australia, they’re registered with the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (OMARA), which is part of the Department of Home Affairs. All qualified agents are authorized by the Australian government to provide their services.
While you don’t need to work with a migration agent to apply for an Australian visa, they can help make the process a little less stressful. Migration agents can:
- Complete your visa application
- Help you understand the dos and don’ts of the visa application process
- Prepare all required documents
- Contact the Department of Home Affairs about your application
To find one, you can search the Register of Migration Agents on the OMARA website. If you haven’t moved to Australia yet, keep in mind that there are registered Australian migration agents based around the world. You can check if there’s an agent working close to you using the search tool.
You might be interested in Australian student visa application guide
The advantages of hiring a migration agent
Now that you know what exactly a migration agent does, what are some advantages of hiring one?
They’re experts in their field
For some people, working on a visa application alone can be overwhelming. There are detailed instructions to keep in mind, and you want to make sure everything is done perfectly. Hiring a migration agent can lessen a lot of the burden. They’re experts in their field, have up-to-date knowledge on Australian migration law, and have helped numerous other people with successful visa applications.
Since migration agents follow a Code of Conduct, they’re also obliged to act in your best interest. This means they’ll provide you with professional immigration advice throughout the whole visa process, and should be just a phone call away whenever you have any questions.
They could help streamline the process
Migration agents know which documents are required and how to best prepare them. And according to OMARA, submitting an application that’s properly prepared can make it easier to get a faster decision on your visa.
If you hire a migration agent, you’ll also have someone to represent you in your dealings with the Australian government. Migration agents can reach out to the Department of Home Affairs on your behalf – for example, if your situation has changed or to ask about processing delays. This can save applicants a huge amount of time.
They can provide support in English
Understanding immigration paperwork can get complicated, even if you’re fluent in English. So if you’re an English learner, working with a migration agent to complete your application can be incredibly helpful.
Keep in mind that migration agents aren’t there to translate or interpret documents for you. But working with someone who speaks English fluently to prepare your application can help ensure you don’t miss anything.
The challenges of hiring a migration agent
Of course, choosing to work with a migration agent is a big decision. There are a few things to keep in mind before you decide to hire an agent – or rather, work on your own.
Migration agents can be expensive
Working with a migration agent is expensive; their services can sometimes cost thousands of dollars. Each migration agent can set their own price. But the fee will usually depend on what visa you’re applying to, how much help you need, and how much experience your migration agent has. Before signing on with an agent, OMARA recommends speaking with at least three professionals to compare how much they charge.
Overall, moving to Australia is a big investment. So if you’ve researched the visa application and are confident you understand all that’s required, you might decide it’s better to complete the visa process yourself.
Watch out for unregistered agents
In most cases, only registered agents can legally give you immigration advice. However, there are people who pretend to be registered agents, which opens the door to immigration fraud. There are also unregistered agents who might not have knowledge of immigration law, could give bad advice, or could lose important files.
On the other hand, as we mentioned above, registered migration agents have to follow a Code of Conduct – which offers you a range of protections. If for some reason you’re unhappy with your agent, OMARA can also help you to resolve disputes.
Learn more about the risks of working with an unregistered agent on the OMARA website.
There’s no guarantees
It’s important to remember that simply hiring a migration agent does not guarantee your application will be successful. There are many factors that influence a successful application, some of which may be outside even the best agent’s control.
Overall, it’s important to do lots of research before deciding to hire a migration agent. Once you understand what’s required in the visa process, ask yourself: do I feel confident completing the application on my own? Will I be able to invest the time needed to prepare the application well?
And do I have friends who can recommend a good migration agent, if I choose to work with one?
Many Australian visa applicants will also have to prove their English language proficiency. At PTE Academic, we’ve got you covered. Our English language tests are accepted by the Department of Home Affairs for all visa categories.
We are not immigration agents. For all up-to-date information about visa rules and regulations, see the official guidelines on the Australia Department of Home Affairs website.