If you choose to use a migration agent to help with your visa application, it’s important to check they are registered with the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (the Authority). It’s against the law for anyone who is not registered to advise about eligibility for a visa or provide assistance beyond clerical help with a visa or citizenship application.
Registered migration agents are skilled professionals with up-to-date knowledge of Australian migration law, and are bound by the professional standards set out in the migration agents’ Code of Conduct. This provides you with a level of protection. On the other hand, an unregistered agent may not have current knowledge about the law and ignore any form of consumer protection.
So what can you expect when using a registered migration agent? Firstly, your agent must be realistic with you about your chances of getting a visa - they shouldn’t give you false hope and can never guarantee you a visa. You should discuss with your agent what your chances of success are and your agent should provide you with an agreement of services and fees before they start work or take any money from you. The agreement should give you a breakdown of the costs involved in preparing and submitting your visa application, including the agent’s professional fees and any visa application charges.
One of the benefits of using a registered migration agent is that they must charge you reasonable fees for their services. You can see the average range of fees charged by registered migration agents here . Your agent must also keep you informed about the progress of your visa application and must let you know in writing about the outcome as soon as possible.
At the end of the process, or after completing a large block of work, the agent must give you an invoice for the work they have completed. It’s important to know that agent fees can vary and may depend on the type of visa you need, the amount of time it will take to prepare your application, or if you need extra help or have complex circumstances. For example, your agent might charge more if you have dependents on your application (such as children). Some agents who are very experienced and highly qualified may charge a higher fee.
If your agent’s fees seem too high, discuss this with them before signing a contract. You should consider talking to a few agents about their services and fees before you choose one and sign a written contract with them.
If you have any issues with your registered migration agent, you should try to resolve them first by talking to your agent. If this doesn’t work, the Authority may be able to help you. You can call the Authority on 1300 226 272 or complete the complaint form on the website. Remember, if you get migration advice from someone who is not a registered migration agent, the Authority cannot assist you if there’s a problem.
There are more than 5000 Australian registered migration agents to choose from. You can find one on the Authority’s website.