How do I know which Australian immigration agents I can trust?
There are many stories of people ripped off by unscrupulous Australian immigration agents. Often people are left without savings in their bank accounts. Even worse – deported, because the visa turned out be fake!
The best way to make sure that the person you are dealing with is the real deal, is to check that they are a migration agent listed on the website of the Office of Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA). If you cannot find the ‘agent’ on here, walk away and do not deal with them.
There are other ways to tell too. Usually the signs come in the form of false promises or, plain and simple, outright lies.
Here are the most common you’ll hear:
I can guarantee that you will get a visa.
This is false. No-one can guarantee you’ll get a visa. Only authorised Australian immigration officers can give you a visa and only when you have met all the visa requirements.
Pay now to register for the migration program.
This is not how things work. You only pay for your visa application when you lodge it.
Please note: Your migration agent is allowed to charge for their services and most likely will do so. These will never come a surprise though. According to the MARA code of conduct, all charges for services rendered by an immigration agent must be detailed in your contract with your agent.
This is a ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’.
It might be hard to believe, but some fraudulent agents actually call people to offer them visas. It’s then framed as an opportunity not to be missed. All to get money out of you!
MARA registered agents will never call you first to offer you migration ‘opportunities’. This a client relationship that always start with the client, i.e. you, contacting the agent.
Only I can pay the charges. Give me your money and I will pay the charges for you.
False again. You can pay your own visa application charge. However, you might still choose to let your migration agent do it for you – but only if you are sure you are dealing with a registered agent!
I have a special relationship with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.
No-one has a ‘special relationship’ with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP). It’s just not how it works. The DIBP treats all visa applications in a fair and impartial way.
I am a skilled migration service provider/Australian Government registered/department registered
The only Australian immigration agents you should deal with, are agents with a Migration Agent Registration Number (MARN). Do not take any agent on their word only! Look for a MARN number on the agent’s website or in their advertising.
Don’t worry, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection is still processing your visa.
Do not just accept this. Your agent is obliged to let you know, in writing, about the progress of your application. Ask for a copy of the confirmation letter if necessary. If the person can’t give you a confirmation letter, contact the DIBP directly for feedback on your application.
Keep in mind though that some applications do take longer than others, so there will be times that your immigration agent won’t have any feedback for you.
I need to keep your original passport/birth certificate/idendity document to give to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.
The DIBP usually only want certified copies of original documents. In the event that the DIBP wants to see original documents, a DIBP visa officer will ask you for them.
Why is important to know this? Because you don’t want to be a victim of identity fraud -which you could easily be if you give your personal documents to a fraudster.
Want to know if you can trust our Australian immigration agents?
If you’d like to get in touch with us to discuss your Australian immigration journey, please feel free to call us on +27 (0) 21 202 8200.