Moving overseas can be an exciting and life-changing experience, but it can also be a complex and stressful process. One of the most important steps in this journey is obtaining the necessary visas and sponsorships to legally live and work in a new country. While it is possible to navigate the immigration process on your own, many people find it beneficial to seek the guidance of a qualified migration agent or migration lawyer. In this article, we will discuss the benefits of using a migration agent or lawyer, as well as the things to consider when selecting one.
Benefits of Using a Migration Agent or Lawyer
One of the main advantages of using a migration agent or lawyer is that they offer a wealth of knowledge and advice on all the legal processes involved with moving overseas. Immigration policies and laws are constantly changing, and it can be challenging to keep up with the latest requirements and regulations. By using a qualified migration agent, you can ensure that you receive the most up-to-date information possible from someone who understands all the limitations and benefits.
Migration agents are also useful in situations where you are unsure about your options, are moving overseas for the first time, or feel that you have a complicated case. For example, if you need to sponsor someone to visit or stay in Australia, a migration agent can provide assistance and advice on the best approach to take. They can also help you prepare your visa application, monitor its progress, and liaise with the government on your behalf where necessary.
Additional benefits of using a migration agent include:
- Advising on your eligibility for particular visas and making sure your relevant documentation is correct.
- Providing advice on what visa will best suit your circumstances.
- Helping you prepare your visa application.
- Monitoring the progress of your application and liaising with the government on your behalf where necessary.
What Kind of Migration Agent or Lawyer Do I Need?
Once you have decided to use a migration agent or lawyer, the first step is to make sure you are using a qualified one. In order to be qualified to provide migration advice, a migration agent must hold a current legal practicing certificate issued by an Australian body that is authorised by law. They must also be registered with the Office of Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA). If your migration agent or lawyer resides outside of Australia, they won’t be registered with the Australian Government, so make sure they are accredited by a local authority (separate to the overseas agent ID number).
Once you have confirmed that your migration agent is qualified, consider your personal circumstances. Do you need advice about visa options, or on a specific visa? Do you need assistance lodging your application, or is English your second language? These are just some of the things to consider, as well as your criminal history and residential status. If you need legal assistance, you may consider working with a registered migration lawyer who will be able to represent you in court where necessary.
It may also be useful to screen potential migration agents with a phone call to scope their experience with your particular visa, whether they think your outcome will be successful, and the steps they will take to help you.
Once You Have a Migration Agent or Lawyer
After you have found a qualified migration agent or lawyer, it is important to discuss the agreement you are entering into and get it all in writing. All registered migration agents and migration lawyers are bound by MARA’s Code of Conduct and must provide you with a Consumer Guide.
When discussing the agreement, consider the following:
- Advice on your options.
- Contracts and fees (detailing when you need to pay and how, as well as what you are paying for).
- Consumer Guide and Code of Conduct.
- Timelines – Discuss how long the application is expected to take and what the process will look like.
Your migration agent or migration lawyer needs to provide you with updates on the progress of your application as soon as possible, as well as advise of any conflicts of interest. If you mutually agree to end the contract, they need to return all documentation within seven days.