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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My boyfriend and I are applying for a de facto 309 visa. We have received a lot of conflicting information on how and when and what to do to apply so we have started looking into an agent to ease some of the confusion and stress. Has anyone ever worked with an agent before? What are the benefits or not so benefit? We will be meeting with one on Wednesday. Does anyone have any suggestions on questions we should be asking or how to tell if she knows what she is doing? Any advice would be very helpful!

-Aly
 

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Step #1 is to make sure they are MARA-registered. If they are not, I wouldn't even meet with them. There are several great agents on this forum. :) Also, feel free to ask questions here - working with a knowledgeable agent is never a bad idea, but it's also good to understand the process yourself. :)
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for replying! We found her off of the Aus Immigration Gov website. The only one in Houston and since thats where I am located I figured it was easier to work with someone local. Do you think it helps with timeline? Just like everyone I am sure, we want to make it as quick and easy as possible. Hoping an agent can help us smooth it out.
 

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Nah, agent doesn't make it any quicker, unfortunately. But they can definitely help you keep from making costly mistakes. :)
 

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Like any expert service, you pay a large amount for expertise. I would ask your agent how many 309 Visa's she has actually handled and what advantage she feels she offers over doing it yourself.

Personally, I think that the DIBP has made the online application process for the 309 so easy that it no longer requires an agent. It's VERY time-consuming, but we found it was totally straightforward. And using an agent won't be quicker - you still have to find all the evidence documentation required - so whether you email it to the agent or upload it to the Immi site, takes the same time.

There is also nothing to stop you going online, opening your own Immi Account (it's free and takes 3 minutes) and then starting to fill in the required forms (again it's free until you actually click 'Submit' and you can save your form at any time before actually submitting.) If you feel that the online process is too difficult for you, and you can afford an agents fees in addition to the visa application fee, then give the agent access to your Immi Account and use an agent. But don't get scared off until you've actually tried it.
 

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Such a personal thing that it's always hard to suggest anything.

If you have been in a long term relationship, where you have lived together for over a year and have evidence of this then you shouldn't find the process too difficult.

You will find that there are more people that don't use agents for partner visas than there are people that use them.

This forum is a wealth of information and as LizBee says - IMMI have made the online system quite easy to use. It comes down to the evidence you can provide and at the end of the day the agent doesn't do that for you - you have to collect that.

But I think it's always useful to have an initial consultation with an agent as it may help you understand the process better and determine if you are eligible to apply.

So as for questions
- Ask her how long she has been registered - you can tell because the first two letters of her MARA number will tell you the year that she was registered.
- Ask her how many partner visas she processes - some don't do a lot of partner visas and concentrate on skilled migration for example.
- Ask her what kind of education she has in Australian migration - or better yet what kind of continued education she has - my partner is a lawyer and he has to do a certain amount of continued education hours each year to ensure he stays up to date with regulations for example.
- What are the payment terms - you certainly don't want to be paying the total upfront.
- How you can communicate with them. You won't want them saying they don't take phone calls or feel that they won't be easily reachable when you need to speak to them. I have seen a few people complain about this - that their agent isn't reachable or approachable.

And lastly get a good sense of her as a person and how professional she is. She needs to understand that this is a big thing for you and your partner - you don't want to feel like just another client. You need to feel you can trust her.

Best of luck :)
 
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As above - but be sure you only give a dam about Australian visas in her reply's!!!!!!!!

Ask hers success rate also. It should be extremely high or she would not submit unless asked to do so. Ask if you can talk to a few clients both good and bad results.

She will need authorisation for that - but I will happily talk to anyone about my agents services if asked.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
That is all great advice! I am still really on the fence about it. $1500 is what she is charging with $750 upfront and $750 when the visa is lodged. I have a lot of evidence already. Really what is left is putting it all together and getting declarations from my partner and our friends. It's the small things that I have questions about. Like when do I get my health check and what the most common errors people make. This site is helpful.
 

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Ask hers success rate also. It should be extremely high or she would not submit unless asked to do so. Ask if you can talk to a few clients both good and bad results.
The client confidentiality provisions of the Migration Agents Code of Conduct would make this a dicey strategy. Would you recommend asking the same of a banker, medical practitioner?
 

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That is all great advice! I am still really on the fence about it. $1500 is what she is charging with $750 upfront and $750 when the visa is lodged. I have a lot of evidence already. Really what is left is putting it all together and getting declarations from my partner and our friends. It's the small things that I have questions about. Like when do I get my health check and what the most common errors people make. This site is helpful.
In my professional opinion $1500 (USD or AUD) is not enough to charge for managing a partner visa if a RMA wants to stay in business.

The most common error people make is not seeking a professional assessment before committing to a course of action.
 

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$1500 would be a very inexpensive price for a partner visa application.
 

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here's my thoughts ;

my german partner and I just lodged our PMV on the 10th Dec , luckily we missed the price hike and are also infront of the rush after the increase was announced.

A partner visa application is eminently doable yourself if its straightforward AND YOU HAVE THE TIME AND INCLINATION to do a lot of research and reading. .

Research , carefull thinking, being realistic about your evidence and no rush is to me the basis of doing it yourself.

We talked to 6 agents about doing our application ( including Mark Northam and CCMS from this board) quotes were between $AUS2500 - $AUS4000.

I spent about a month ( a couple of hours every night) reading this forum and others to get my head around the process and requirements and decided we could do it ourselves.

We then spent about 6 months slowly getting our evidence together and continuing to read everything on this forum about partner visas.

My fiance came to visit in Nov / Dec , we finished off a few things and were ready to apply when Anette went home to Germany but before she left we had a 1 hour consult with Mark Northam to go over our evidence , best $190 I ever spent for peace of mind !!!. Mark had a few comments and ideas for small changes but he was really happy with our evidence and it was great that the time spent researching was well spent :).
 

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In my professional opinion $1500 (USD or AUD) is not enough to charge for managing a partner visa if a RMA wants to stay in business. The most common error people make is not seeking a professional assessment before committing to a course of action.
Agreed. You simply would not be able to put enough time and effort into it for such a low rate. I agree with your point on confidentiality as well. I am sometimes a bit surprised about the sort of questions I get asked and wonder if people would apply the same sort of scrutiny to other professionals. On top of that many people somehow think they are entitled to a free consultation.I have no idea where that concept comes from. I don't know of any other professionals who give free consultations. I have learned quickly that most people who want a free consultation have no intention of paying for any services at all.
 

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Client confidentiality can be waivered and without checking I am sure I mentioned approval would be required. Most professions do give some sort of initial "free consultation" it can be called many things "free quote" for car repair or similar. At the end of the day it is never free - but is factored into the end prices charged on jobs received over a period.

So I have do disagree that free consultation does not exist in most companies - but it is the chance to win work. I don't know any professional be it politician, lawyer, doctor, electrician, plumber or retiree that does not ask me for a estimate/quote (that takes my time) to fix their aircraft. They don't need to use me on that job or ever - but it is factored into my hr rate. I also often need "quotes" for other companies for "free" - I do inform them if it is likely to go ahead or not at that time, so they can spend lots of time to win a job or little if it will be a write off.

If someone wont give me 5 mins of their time to check out how they are, I think they are interested only in the $ not me.

I agree $1500 is not enough to carry out such a task. I would work on 20 hours at a professional rate per hour, here in Australia being +$150-$270 I would think.
 

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I agree on the points you make about free quotes, an initial introduction / chat etc. No problem there.

Obviously I spend time for free with potential clients before signing them up , be it by email, phone or in person.

What I am referring to is people who expect a free full consultation to discuss their issues in great detail or the ones who go from agent to agent, notebook in hand, to obtain free advice about their case.
 
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Yes agree a consult is to prove you know your stuff very well but not to give them the answers but give options. P.S my quotes/estimates are very accurate on the $'s but my part numbers less accurate, when they give my hard work to another to cut costs - some of the bits just don't fit! I love those calls.
 

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I have a lot of evidence already. Really what is left is putting it all together and getting declarations from my partner and our friends. It's the small things that I have questions about. Like when do I get my health check and what the most common errors people make. This site is helpful.
It sounds like what you really need is confidence.
And $1500 is a lot to pay for that. Questions like 'when should I do my medicals' - and any others you have - can easily be asked on this forum and we'd be happy to answer you :). Log onto the Immi website and start doing that application yourself, we're all here to help you! :p ;) :) :) :eek: :D
 

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Undertake medical examinations ASAP after your case officer requests you to do so.

On the issue of free assessments, a registered migration agent must not lodge an application that does not have at least reasonable prospects of success, so some level of preliminary assessment is good practice. [For technical reasons I have lodged applications that had no prospects of success, one such reason being a doomed visa application followed by review application that was also doomed, followed by a request for ministerial intervention that is now on foot.] Don't try this at home.

For skilled visa applicants an adequate assessment can involve several hours work looking at academic qualifications, employment certifications, age, points, medical issues and other factors.

For partner visa applicants an assessment of visa prospects is usually more straightforward, but equally necessary. If there are issues a way forward can usually be found, but not always.

In any case, even if the advice is 'regret to advise' this is well worth the cost of a consultation fee. In this event some people will keep seeking advice elsewhere until they hear the answer they want to hear.

On the issue of success rates. Over twelve+ years and many cases I have had only two partner visas refused at the primary decision level. I won one pro bono in the Migration Review Tribunal. In the other case, the client stuck her head in and tried to run the case herself. I found this particularly annoying, because I had recently won a previous unrelated DIY attempt for her in the MRT and I had explicitly advised her to let me manage the matter.

On the issue of the percentage of applicant engaged the service of a registered migration agent, there are two issues:

1. The DIBP does not publish the relative e success rates of DIY applicants, registered migration agents' clients, unregistered agents' clients and others and for obvious reasons they are unlikely to do so. [If you feel the need to know, try a FoI request]

2. Some applicants who were not formally represented by a registered migration agent, took professional advice when preparing an application.
 

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A very good success rate Westly, and good reply. My recommendation in relation to Partner Visas is at a minimum have an agent go over your application - many offer this service.
 

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If you have been in a long term relationship, where you have lived together for over a year and have evidence of this then you shouldn't find the process too difficult.
We've been living together over a year now, but never bothered (until today) to add her name on the lease. She's been using this address in the last year for everything. i.e. her bank account and driver's license.

So my Q is if her name wasn't on the lease for 12 month but we got other ways to support it. is that good enough?

Our evidence ideas so far:

- Address - with the issue mentioned above
- Putting our names as beneficiaries for our supers
- Join our bank account
- Travel itineraries
- photos (travel, me with her family in Japan and here)
 
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