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|Tip 1 – Is your agent or lawyer experienced?|
Experienced advice makes all the difference between a successful and unsuccessful application. Make sure the advice you are given is from an experienced migration professional.
Now, that includes both lawyers and agents!
A good tip when reviewing agents is to look at their registration number. The first two digits of their registration number will tell you the year they were first registered. For example, if an agent’s number starts with ‘08’, this means they were originally registered as an agent in 2008.
The registration number does not provide more information beyond the registration date. However, it does provide you with an indication of the time that the agent has been practising for.
For lawyers, you can go to any of the state or territory law society websites. From the website, you will be able to find out if the lawyer holds a practising certificate.
Establishing experience is critical and should always be your first step when choosing a migration expert.
Tip 2 – Get your advice in writing AND a second opinion.
Navigating migration applications is no different to life, there is strength in numbers.
Get your advice in writing and a second opinion.
To make sure you have been advised correctly, you can upload your written advice on the Time for Advice platform. That’s what Time for Advice is all about and how we can assist you.
Everything starts with that initial advice in mapping out a solid plan. If you start with a poor foundation, then issues will arise. A second opinion can prevent errors which can be very costly and time-consuming to correct.
Tip 3 – Is your agent getting a commission on student visas?
There are always warning signs with the wrong agent. If your migration agent recommends for you to study on a student visa, then immediately get a second opinion.
Many agents are also education agents. This means they get paid a commission by colleges and universities to sign you up to a course. Their motivation will be to align your application to their wallet.
Sadly, it’s not in their financial interest to necessarily advise you on the fastest way to residency.
Over the years, this has been one of the most common issues where clients have been put on student visas that they did not need. Now, considering international study could cost you $10,000 to $20,000 a year, it’s also a very costly issue.
If you do not need a study visa and this has been the advice received, immediately seek additional advice.
Tip 4 – Unless it’s complex, do the application yourself.
Unless your application has some very complex issue, then file the application yourself.
Even if you do have a complex issue, you can file the application yourself and hire someone to deal with the issue only.
It’s all about data transfer! You can always file the application yourself.
Tip 5 – If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
Agents will often tell you just what you want to hear, to get you to commit the funds.
If you sought out several opinions and most people are telling you one thing, and then all of a sudden you find an agent that tells you exactly what you want to hear, then be very careful.
It’s highly likely you have been told that advice only for one reason. If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is!
Tip 6 – Don’t put yourself under time pressure.
Time pressure and visa applications just do not go together.
Create breathing space and make sure that you’re moving at a very comfortable pace.
Eliminating the pressure of time will reduce costly errors and unnecessary stress.
Tip 7 – Make sure you always have access to the file.
Even if you engage an agent or a lawyer, make sure you have access to the application once it’s been filed.
Most applications are filed through an ImmiAccount. Your agent can share the application if you have your own ImmiAccount. At the very least, the agent can download a PDF copy of the application and send it to you.
Always have access to your completed application file.
Tip 8 – Make sure your agreement is fixed and there are no extra charges.
Under the code of conduct, an agent must issue a written agreement for the work to be performed.
Make sure your agreement is fixed with no extra charges. The written agreement should clearly define all the work which will be performed.
Tip 9 – Does your visa price include all applicants?
If you’re applying for a family visa, make sure you have been quoted a price that covers the entire family unit.
Many agents can tell you at the last minute, when your application time is extremely limited and pressing the deadline, that their fees were for you alone. The agent then may impose additional fees for your partner and children.
At this stage, it is often too late for you to make any changes and you have no choice but to pay the fee. Checking that all applicants are included in the scope of work will prevent future fees.
Tip 10 – NEVER hand over your original documents.
Lastly, never hand over your original documents to an agent and never hand over your passport.
It’s very common for us to have clients who have been held to ransom by agents. The agent will hold onto their clients passport for unsatisfactory works and demand their fee is paid prior to returning the passport.
Our experience shows at Time for Advice that these top ten tips can strengthen your visa application and lead to a successful application.
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Top 10 tips for your Australian visa application – By Ken Hunt