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Pro,s and Cons Agency or not - Page 4

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  #31 (permalink)  
Old 01-15-2013, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by direct View Post
I would like to apologise to Paradise. I was rude and dismissive. Whilst I still agree with most of what I said, I was rude. No need for that.
Thank you Direct for your apology, I must admit that I was quite upset when I read your post as I was only trying to keep this forum free from foreseeable issues that may arise.

FTR: Whilst I’ve seen some fantastic advice on forums, I have also seen some outrageous claims / advice posted and it would sadden me if a forum member had thought that true and acted upon that advice, migrating to Australia should be a wonderful experience not a disaster waiting to happen and if I can be fortunate enough to curb even one disaster, I think it would be worth my while to log on every now and then.

My intention on this forum is a personal choice to provide guidance with no strings attached or hidden agenda, thus remaining anonymous would allow me to provide guidance without the stigma of an agent/lawyer logo in your face constantly saying, “Contact me, I may be able to help you” – **For a fee**.

Finally, please do not discount the kindness that volunteers provide to the community, it really is disheartening to hear comments like that.

People provide pro-bono work for many reasons, mine is because I understand I would not be as fortunate as I am today, if not for the kindness of others, who guided, trusted and supported me over the years. I have time for pro-bono work because I made prudent choices with my savings earlier on in life, invested it wisely and had a bit of luck on my side, from that I have other productive avenues of income and fortunately do not have the pressure or need to take on clients unless it was my preference to do so.

As for my education, well I paid for all my education up front, my parent’s brought me up on “There’s no such thing as free lunch”.

Regarding “Little Miss Grumpy” she was not the first client who has walked through our doors that I’ve turned away because she asked me do something unethical / illegal and I’m sure she will not be the last.

Our immigration policy limits the number of people that can migrate to Australia each year; I would prefer those limited places be taken up with honest and worthy people rather than dishonest people, even if it means I am also sending away a particularly “generous” prospective client, so be it.

Sticking to the topic, the people that need immigration assistance are those that cannot (or prefer not to) do it themselves. As Direct mentioned, it’s a matter of filling out forms and providing information and a request (by application) to DIAC to enter and / or remain in Australia.

The case officers will make a decision based on the information the applicant / sponsor has supplied.
The Migration Legislation and Regulations are the “rules” so to speak. Within the department they have adopted these “rules” to form internal guidelines and they would call these “Policy”, these are their guidelines to make their decisions.

DIAC has a very informative website that has most of the information available online if you are comfortable with conducting research online.

So if you can
1) Read and understand the “rules” (Migration Legislation and Regulations)
2) Fill out the forms
3) Supply the requested documentation
4) Lodge the application according to the “rules”
For a general application (no complexities) you should be okay to do it yourself.

The place where sponsors / applicants become stuck are when they have not followed the “rules” (i.e. lodged the wrong form, lodged it to the wrong processing centre, paid the incorrect fee, misunderstood the question, did not answer all the questions, did not supply correct documents, etc…)

Basically, the “rules” are generally all there for you to read, understand and follow, people with a competent command of English can probably do it themselves, in my experiences over the years in the field, the people that need the help are the ones that have limited English or unable to comprehend and follow the “rules”.

This is where an agent / lawyer comes in, their job is to know the “rules”, like any profession some practitioners know it better than others, so if you know of any good ones feel free to let forum members know.

Also, don’t be too set on your mind if an agent / lawyer is good or not based on referral, it also comes down to personal preference, some people like a no BS (tell me what I have to do) type and some people like the I’ll tell you everything and you can make a decision & everything will be ok type.

Keep in mind, like any paid work: Time = $$ so if you’re looking for an agent / lawyer to hold your hand and spoon feed you, be prepared to pay a little more, than the ones that only contacts you if they need something.

Make sure you talk to the agent / lawyer before you commit to anything. An agent / lawyer cannot charge you for anything unless you agree to the fees first.

Don’t feel pressured to sign up for anything unless it’s you that’s making the decision to do so. Like any business deal, don’t fall for the, “If you sign up today, I’ll give you a once off discount of 20%, etc…). If they genuinely want your business they will need to earn your trust and respect. Don’t always go for the cheapest one either; sometimes the cheapest can also end up the most costly.

Immigration advice field does not have its professional fees regulated; it’s up to the agent / lawyer to name their price. This can vary depending on the agent / lawyer’s experience, overheads, how much they think their services are worth and what price is tolerated in the market.

For example:
You’ll probably find a city based firm with a flash office more expensive than a sole trader (home office) operated agent / lawyer. I’m not saying either would be better or worse, but there is the impression that a city based firm probably pumps outs more applications so has more experience or if there are multiple practitioners in the firm then they might have more of a combined knowledge than a sole trader.

That said, I do know of some sole traders that can give a few city based firms a good run for their money.

Use your own good judgement to decide if doing it yourself if for you or not.

Please do not use this as gospel, these are just general areas where I see clients become stuck and thought it might help.
Questions you ask yourself can be:
1) Are you willing and able to research everything you need to know about your migration options?
a. Don’t just look at one visa, there may be other better options
2) Do you understand the “rules”? (Migration Legislation / Regulations)
3) Can you apply the "rules" to your situation?
4) Do you understand and be able to competently answer what is being asked on the application?
5) Do you know / Can you supply the evidence / supporting documents DIAC are asking for?
6) Are you willing to check that you’ve followed all the “rules” DIAC have set out?
7) Are you willing to check, check, triple check all your work?

If you’ve answered “YES” to all these questions confidently, you should be good on a non-complex application.
If you’ve answered “NO” to any of these questions, then I’m not saying your application will fail, but you might not be giving yourself the best opportunity to optimise you migration prospects and you should seek a second opinion.

So back to what I said, originally… if you decide doing it on our own is not how you want to do it, make sure you talk to the agent / lawyer. Another good thing to ask while I’m at it is, “Who would be looking after your file?” It might be a very charismatic person that you’re working with (and has sold you on hello) and to your shock and horror you might end up with a condescending prick like me (**winks at Direct).

Some agents / lawyers offer free initial consultations; some offer it for a small fee to filter the people that are just “fishing” for information with no intention to commit. Please remember that agents / lawyers are running a business. If they are in a high traffic area, with high rent and overheads, they cannot afford to entertain non-fee paying people, so if you’re serious about getting help, then paying a small fee should not be an issue.

You’ll find the ones that offer free initial consultations probably don’t tell you much more than you already know anyway. If they do, then that’s a bonus and if you’re in the market for an agent / lawyer, these are the ones I would underline amongst the ones that ones that you have tested with a tricky question to see if they know more than you or not.

You can ask about their experience, some agents / lawyers only practice in particular subclasses (visas). So disappointment for one person might be a blessing for another if it happens to be their area of expertise. If you’re particularly concerned, you can ask them how long they’ve been practicing or to be cheeky, I think some of you have already noticed, if you look at their registration number it’s a 7 digit number, the first two digits was when they registered. That said, that is not always correct as they might have had a break from practicing and only recently registered again, so the best thing to do is to talk to agent / lawyer.

Even if they are the best agent / lawyer on the market and know everything, you might just not like the way they treat you.

Sorry this was so long winded, but I thought I should try and put something constructive for you to read.

And good luck with your migration prospects.

Marcantony and jamesbrock like this.

  #32 (permalink)  
Old 01-15-2013, 08:45 AM
Nelly87's Avatar
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 831
Users Flag! From netherlands

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Thank you Paradise, that was very helpful information, I'm sure it will help some make their decisions.

To be honest this forum and process has even made me consider going back to school to end up working in some area of the immigration process, maybe even law. The help and advice on this forum, also from agents who could be charging us but aren't, has just been very inspiring. It can make a huge positive difference in so many lives. So thank you.

CollegeGirl likes this.
From: The Netherlands
Visa Sub: 820 Partner Temp Onshore (De Facto)
Applied: 23 January 2013 (front loaded)
Application: Paper
Agent: No

Case Officer Assigned: 23 December 2013
Request for More Information: 19 May 2014
Requested Information: Australian Federal Police Check
Supplied on: 26 May 2014
Visa Granted: 4 June 2014

Permanent Stage Application: 22 January 2015

  #33 (permalink)  
Old 01-15-2013, 09:42 AM
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Posts: 37
Please update your flag here .

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Thank you for your kind words Nelly,

What I do is not that much compared to what some others I know do... But it's the best I can do for now.

As for your aspirations to study immigration law, I would say, "Go for it and never look back"... it seems that you, like me are quite passionate about helping people on immigration matters. Even if you don't end up working in the field, knowledge is a commodity that is timeless and priceless you can always use your knowledge to help people on great forums like this.

kttykat likes this.

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