Migration agent fees and charges – part 1

How much should a migration agent cost?

If you have decided to use a migration agent registered with the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (the Authority), you should find out in advance what fee they will charge you.

Registered migration agents can only charge you a fee that is fair and reasonable. You might notice that the fees charged by migration agents vary. This is because an agent’s fee depends on:

  • the type of visa you are applying for
  • the level of service you want
  • how complex your application is
  • the experience and qualifications of the agent. If your agent is a lawyer, a specialist, or has many years of experience, their fees might be higher.

You can find a table of average fees charged by registered migration agents for common visa types on the Authority’s website. See Agent fees

Many agents offer to discuss your visa application with you in an initial consultation before you decide to use them. This can happen face-to-face, over the telephone, or via internet links depending on where you are.  These initial consultations can be provided free or for a fee. If it’s not clear, you should find out from the agent before the consultation whether or not you will be charged for it.

Some agents also provide an online form on their website that assesses your eligibility for a visa. Just like an initial consultation, some agents offer this service free while others charge for it. The agent’s website should indicate whether you have to pay for the online assessment.

You should use the initial consultation as an opportunity to ask the agent for a written estimate of their fees.  This will give you an idea of how much you need to pay altogether and what you are paying for. This should include the visa application charge and all other fees required to be paid. Professional fees are usually charged by the hour or by the service provided.

As well as the fees paid to your agent, you will also need to pay a fee to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) for your visa. This is known as a visa application charge (VAC). Visa application charges will vary depending on the type of visa you are applying for and may change from time to time.

Many agents will pay the visa application charge on your behalf, but this will be in addition to the fee they charge you for their services. This is called a disbursement. Remember also that you may need to pay your agent any credit card charges they have incurred in paying the visa application charge. You should have a look at the visa pricing table on the DIBP website to find out what the charge for your application will be. See Visa pricing table

If you decide you want to accept the agent’s estimate of fees, you will be asked to sign an ‘Agreement for Services and Fees.’ This agreement should set out:

  • services to be performed
  • fees for those services
  • disbursements.

Do not pay your agent until you have read, understood and agreed to the Agreement for Services and Fees.

More information about migration agent fees and charges will be posted shortly. In the meantime, if you would like to read more about migration agents, refer to some of our earlier posts:

‘Do you want help with your visa application?’

What to expect from a registered migration agent’

Need migration advice? There are over 5000 registered migration agents in Australia. Find one at www.mara.gov.au