The promise of someone being able to handle the visa application process for you while you sit back and dream of the day when you’ll be able to set foot on the sandy shores of Australia is just one of the reasons why the use of migration agents has become more and more commonplace. But visa applicants beware – before signing over your life savings to the first so-called agency that guarantees you a visa, consider beforehand whether they really are qualified to make such bold claims.
In light of the recent visa scandal that featured on Carte Blanche detailing the unethical practices of a certain “immigration and visa firm”, now more than ever it is vital for potential migrants to protect their interests as well as their family’s, by making sure that they choose a registered migration agent for professional advice and assistance.
By law, any migration agent operating in Australia and giving advice and assistance on the Australian visa application process must be registered with the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (OMARA). Australian registered migration agents are bound to a code of conduct that sets out the ethical and professional standards that they must adhere to. Migration agents that have offices in Australia but are not registered or do not abide by these standards can face serious legal penalties.
There are a lot of agencies out there that will and do take advantage of susceptible applicants who may not have enough knowledge to realise that they are being strung along with false promises. They do this by feeding clients misleading information and guaranteeing them a visa knowing full well that their application will not be successful – leaving them to fork out for a hefty deposit only to find themselves months down the line still waiting for a visa that will never be granted.
These agencies exist solely to make a profit and try to cover themselves by telling disgruntled applicants that what they are charging for is an ‘advisory service’, regardless of whether they are successful or not. The fact of the matter is that they are not abiding by the code of conduct that requires migration agents to operate in the best interests of their clients – which is what OMARA sets out to promote in order to maintain the integrity of the industry.
To protect yourself from being caught out by fraudulent operators, it is worthwhile to do your homework in advance to make sure that you receive the right advice and professional service that you deserve.
Migrate 2 Oz is an OMARA registered migration agent that has offices in South Africa as well as Australia, offering clients the advantage of being close to their migration agency throughout the visa application process as well as afterwards. The cornerstone to our success lies in the delivery of a transparent and highly professional service that by ensuring firstly that the correct visa is applied for, and then providing honest and in-depth support throughout the process to ensure a successful outcome.