If it were fairly easy to fly to Australia and start a life there just like that, then you would probably see one Filipino after another flying to the land down under. However, the entire process of moving to Australia can be a challenging process, something that not everybody can handle easily.
This is where migration agents come in.
Migration agents help you through the entire process. They’re the experts on the subject, and can bombard you with lists of things you can and cannot do and forms that you have to fill out without even batting an eyelash.
Interestingly enough, paying for the services of a migration agent is not required for you to prepare and submit everything you need to initiate and complete the process of moving to Australia. However, there are a few perks that come with using their services as well.
How can you make such a decision? Is it really worth it to pay for the services of a migration agent?
What Migration Agents Do
Let’s figure this out. Why do people prefer paying a migration agent? What exactly do migration agents do?
Well, migration agents can:
Help you figure out what kind of visa you need
Help you complete your forms the right way
Help you prepare any supporting documentation and information required for the application
Submit your application and deal with the Australian Government’s Department of Immigration and Citizenship on your behalf
Give you advice on migration and visa concerns
They would have to be registered with the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA). This ensures that you do not get any incorrect advice or information, or end up making false claims about how huge your chances of success would be. Registered agents will give you accurate information every single time – otherwise, they stand to lose the certification they worked on so hard to earn.
The legislation and procedures that surround the process of migration also change from time to time. This means that unauthorized agents may not be updated with the latest guidelines you need to follow, delaying your migration, or possibly, destroying your chances completely.
MARA-registered agents also passed through a series of stringent tests, which means that there is a 99% chance that they can be trusted. They are professional, and they do things in a timely manner. They follow a specific Code of Conduct that ensures that they give you top quality services at all times.
Here’s the catch.
Migration agents can be expensive – very expensive.
Agent fees would depend on the kind of Visa that you’ll be needing. For General Skilled Migration, fees range from AU$2,000 to AU$4,500. That’s a whopping Php66,000 to Php147,000! And this does not even cover everything all the time.
The fees would depend on what services you want to include with the package. If you want them to deal with the department on your behalf for example, some agents charge additional fees for it.
You also have to think about the initial consultation fees. Although some agents offer free consultation, others charge by the hour.
Yes, all that just for the agent fee.
Aside from that, you would have to worry about bonds, air fare, and other tests that you may have to complete before getting your visa approved. Plus you also need to have a little extra set aside so that you’ll have money to use once you get there.
Yup, planning for your future and your family’s does cost a lot.
Other Options to Consider
The good thing here is that using a migration agent to help you out is not exactly required in processing the whole thing. This means that you have so many cheaper options that would help you live you Australian dream.
In case you do not have the funds needed to pay for a migration agent, or just do not believe that it’s a practical move on your part, you can seek for help from your sponsor or nominator. As Australian citizens, they would more or less have an idea about how the system works, especially if they are also Filipinos who have been living permanently in Australia for quite some time.
The following people can also help you out for free:
Parliamentarians and their staff
Legal aid providers and other officials that have jobs related to immigration assistance
Members of international organizations, diplomatic missions, or consular posts
And of course, you can always trust on your own research and processing skills to get you through the entire thing.
Unlike a lot of Philippine government websites, Australian websites offer every single bit of information that you would need to process your migration. As long as you have the time and patience to go through every minute detail, you can successfully complete the forms needed, submit all of them with the supporting documents needed, and have your visa approved in no time.
Yes, it is going to take a lot of time. You’re going to have to ask a lot of questions. But there are a lot of forums you can join where you can find answers to most of your questions. Trust me, a lot of
Filipinos have gone the DIY route and were completely successful.
It’s even better if you have friends or family who are already in Australia as they can give you a clearer view of what goes on during the entire process.
So is it worth it to pay a migration agent for their services? It depends.
If you have the money to pay them and little time or patience to consider any other options, that’s fine. It would probably be better for you to find a MARA-registered agent to help you out. You can check the MARA migration agent list online.
But if you’re in a tight situation financially and would rather do things on your own for free, then you can start by checking out the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection website to find exactly what you’re looking for.
Special thanks to c m shah for the main image.