Survey: Want/Don't Want From a Migration Agent?

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Survey: Want/Don't Want From a Migration Agent?


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Old 01-23-2013, 12:06 PM
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Survey: Want/Don't Want From a Migration Agent?

Hi All -

I realise most of my time here is spent responding to topics posted by others, but thought I'd try posting one of my own. It's really more of a survey, but the input would be very interesting to me and perhaps others. My only requests would be that you feel free to answer VERY candidly, and don't mention any names of agents since we don't want to get into a blame thing. Rather, I'd like to focus on what you - as people applying for visas - are looking for and not looking for if you were to hire a migration agent to assist you. So....

2 question for you all today:

1. What do you WANT from a migration agent, if you were to hire one - ie, what things could an agent do for you that you would find the most valuable and important?


2. What do you NOT WANT from a migration agent - that is, what would you NOT want an agent to do (what do agents do (or might do) that would bother you or you would find not desirable)?


Thanks in advance for your candid responses!

Best,

Mark Northam

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LLB, GradDipLaw, GradCertMigrLaw, BBA(Acctg) MARN 1175508
Northam Lawyers http://nlaw.com.au [email protected]
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Old 01-23-2013, 12:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkNortham View Post
Hi All -

I realise most of my time here is spent responding to topics posted by others, but thought I'd try posting one of my own. It's really more of a survey, but the input would be very interesting to me and perhaps others. My only requests would be that you feel free to answer VERY candidly, and don't mention any names of agents since we don't want to get into a blame thing. Rather, I'd like to focus on what you - as people applying for visas - are looking for and not looking for if you were to hire a migration agent to assist you. So....

2 question for you all today:

1. What do you WANT from a migration agent, if you were to hire one - ie, what things could an agent do for you that you would find the most valuable and important?

1. complete knowledge of the entire application process, including revisions and new requirements, 2. provide advice as necessary, 3. being proactive and keeping me updated on my application



2. What do you NOT WANT from a migration agent - that is, what would you NOT want an agent to do (what do agents do (or might do) that would bother you or you would find not desirable)?

1. lack of feedback, 2. use of scare tactics, 3. have hidden costs/fees, 4. not be on top of my application


Thanks in advance for your candid responses!

Best,

Mark Northam
Let me take this opportunity to thank you for your very generous advice to forum members, Mark. What would we do without you?! ~ Nina

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Old 01-23-2013, 02:42 PM
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Hi Mark!

That’s a really interesting question – I just thought I was following my gut but now that I see your questions I realize I did have a pretty strong, concrete idea of what I did and didn’t want. I’ll try to explain as clearly as I can and will definitely be very open and honest. Sorry if the essay is a but much! I elaborately sat down for this, haha.

First of all I just want to say the agents I talked to might have been lovely and very capable, but they lost me at certain points – I may sound a bit overly harsh when I describe it, but I do not mean it that way; this visa is everything to us and so I had strong responses to things I did not appreciate. Also preferences depend on personal circumstance as well: with what I think is a fairly average situation (Ipresume our case looks not bullet proof but not doomed either), limited funds and on my end a fair amount of confidence in my intellect, we were bound to perhaps be more critical.

1. What I did want from an agent and was most important to me when hiring an agent.

--- Reassurance that I understood the forms correctly: due to the pressure of getting it right, sometimes little things and the possibility of different interpretations worked my nerves. “Of all applicants”, “how many applicants”, “everyone involved in the application”. When looked at calmly it makes perfect sense but sometimes it is hard to see clearly when so much is at stake. Not someone to hold our hands while filling out the forms, but definitely someone to rely on when the stress gets a little blinding.

--- Reassurance that our application was complete and ready to be sent: the few days before applying were hell because you start getting more nervous. It would have calmed me down immensely to know someone qualified would have looked throught the application before sending it to at least tell me with confidence the application was valid and at least decent enough to not already start packing my bags. It’s an emotional moment.

--- Helpful advice to strengthen the case. I’ve noticed myself thinking there is not enough paperwork in the world to properly represent our relationship because the most vital things can’t be documented, and it is hard to take an objective look at your shared life as a paperwork application. Outsiders and professionals would probably see more than we do, see evidence where we saw something just being what it was. An extra pair of eyes I guess.

2. What I did not want from an agent and/or what (would have) bothered me.

--- A big deal breaker for me was when an agent told me that applying for a partner visa is so terribly hard that doing it without an agent is as good as impossible… so I should definitely hire someone. Look, even if it is true, it doesn’t work for me. That agent didn’t understand – we were going to apply either way: easy or difficult, good or bad chances. We want to be together, we have no other roads left to turn onto- this application is happening whether it was looking good for us or not, and whether it would be difficult or not; his job was not to discourage me or make me more worried, it was to encourage me to hire him. And he didn’t. Because he made me feel bad and that was basically all he did. I am sure he was saving the (probably better) rest for the first consultation that never happened. “You can’t do it” makes me not like the person saying it. Especially if they don’t know me.

--- On the other hand, just to clarify, just because I don't care to be scared into anything, doesn’t mean I want to be told by an agent that he/she will get me accepted for sure – there is a middle way between freaking me out and selling me a miracle potion. I personally was not looking to pay for a weather man – I realize some people sleep better with promises and predictions and percentages, but I don’t.

--- One agent I talked to was a one-man office. Lovely man, had a great chat, but he was under the impression that the fee for a partner visa was (still) $2000. Idid not enjoy correcting him, and him being genuinely shocked that it was (at the time) in fact $3000. I realize nobody knows everything even inside their field (I sure don’t know every detail about every battle in ancient history), that is how it is everywhere, but I would expect an agent to know the basics. __________________________________________________ ______________

Sorry about the essay! Basically what we looked for might not be what others would have wanted, but according to both our budget and our own abilities (and no huge issues in our situation) we would have wanted an agent for reassurance, double checking and adding ideas, not to do anythingfor us.

I hope this makes it clear and sorry if is doesn't make 100% sense! If anything isn’t clear just reply and I’ll try to explain further if needed. I have only slept for 5 hours over the past 50+ hours so I might not be making any sense at all for all I know!

Nelly

__________________
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
PERMANENT PARTNER (801) GRANTED ON 18 MAY 2015 - WE DID IT!

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Old 01-23-2013, 09:34 PM
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Mark I Did some calling around before we submitted our application... and these are my thoughts on what I want and do not want from a migration agent.

1. What do you WANT from a migration agent, if you were to hire one - ie, what things could an agent do for you that you would find the most valuable and important?
An upfront detailed plan, showing what work will be performed on my behalf, and what advantages I will gain by hiring said agency.
Upfront costs for the entire process, and what's included, including detailed information on where to obtain medical checks, which agencies to get police checks from and time frames for such checks.

I Noticed some agencies would review an application that was done by the applicant, but the fee was almost as much as if you had them do the application. I Think having a reviewing service at an affordable price would be a great option.



2. What do you NOT WANT from a migration agent - that is, what would you NOT want an agent to do (what do agents do (or might do) that would bother you or you would find not desirable)?
Lack of Communication
Scare Tactics
Vauge answers to initial questions until after you have agreed to use there service.


My wife and I Contacted 6 Migration Agents from the MARA website, which resulted in exactly zero of them returning emails, which scared us off on the process of even hiring an agent. She called 2 in person, who didn't even want to talk to her unless we paid a consultation fee upfront. I wish we would of known of you Mark when we started the process!

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Last edited by bradsterusa; 01-23-2013 at 09:44 PM. Reason: added additional info

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Old 01-25-2013, 11:09 PM
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Thanks for the great replies - hope more will share their views!

Nelly -

Thanks for all the details, and sorry to hear about the scare stories! No need for that kind of "sales" tactics.

Bradsterusa - Thanks also for your specific comments. The issue of a free consultation gets different views from different agents, but every email should get a response at least!

Again, thanks for the great feedback!

Best,

Mark Northam

__________________
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Immigration Lawyer and Registered Migration Agent

LLB, GradDipLaw, GradCertMigrLaw, BBA(Acctg) MARN 1175508
Northam Lawyers http://nlaw.com.au [email protected]
Co-Host, Coming 2 Oz live video show: https://www.facebook.com/groups/coming2oz/

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Old 01-25-2013, 11:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkNortham View Post
Thanks for the great replies - hope more will share their views!

Nelly -

Thanks for all the details, and sorry to hear about the scare stories! No need for that kind of "sales" tactics.

Bradsterusa - Thanks also for your specific comments. The issue of a free consultation gets different views from different agents, but every email should get a response at least!

Again, thanks for the great feedback!

Best,

Mark Northam
We want them to work for free on the forum

Thanks Mark for all your time spent here. If more migration agents were like you then they would all go out business there would be nothing left for them to do!

Kttykat




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Old 01-26-2013, 12:27 AM
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First off I have to agree with kttykat - thank you for all the help on here. I have no idea why you do it as you gain absolutely nothing by it professionally. You really do change lives with your help here and hopefully in the end it will also make people more aware of their options with agents. Just because the first two or three you call try to scare you, doesn't mean the fourth will, and you've proven that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkNortham View Post
Nelly -

Thanks for all the details, and sorry to hear about the scare stories! No need for that kind of "sales" tactics.
Yeah it was just unnecessary I felt. I wasn't asking him if I could do it, I was asking him what he could do for us... and he went straight into "you can't possibly do this alone" which felt a little bit denigrating as well as just not honest. He couldn't possibly know what I could and couldn't do... he was just giving it a shot to see if I'd agree. I know he has to make a living and all (and I realize I couldn't have done it without this forum) but clearly testing the waters with an uzi either leaves a really good or really bad impression. And with applicants who have already sort of "empowered" themselves by joining a community like this forum would never fall for it because they read about plenty of people who did it alone.

By the way as far as consultations go we were happy to pay for a first consultation, you know, if the phone call hadn't turned us off it. Actually we thought it was a good sign that they charged for it because to us that said they were actually going to at least give us some idea of our case and what they could do, not give a sales pitch (because if you make people pay for a sales pitch they won't come back).

Another thing that bothered me, but I realize that is me and not the firms or agents, is that they absolutely flat out refused by all means to give us any idea of what they would charge us if we'd hire them. He said "look we're working with lawyers here and we know that if we give you a number that turns out higher you can end up suing us so I'm not going to tell you any numbers" - not even whether it was more or less than the visa. I understand his point and hey it's probably smart but for us that was a moment of.... but if our partner visa gets rejected, suing anyone will be the last thing on our minds... we just want to know if we can afford this at all.

So I don't know about any other firms, maybe some already have it, but a "package deal" of some sort would have really helped us out. Even if it wasn't applicable to us, if he had just said "minimal guidance in terms of simply reviewing your forms and nothing else is [wild guess] $1000". That would have given us an idea of if this was anywhere near the price league we could afford, even if we would have ended up needing more service than just that.

But hey I'm not an agent, I don't know the inside of that world or the actual fees ('cause they wouldn't tell me and the other guy said "the same as the visa, just under $2000... right....) or even if that is legally or financially very disadvantageous for agents or not. But yeah any kind of indication might have pulled us to the first consultation even with the scare tactic if we knew it at least wasn't WAY out of our price league.

__________________
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
PERMANENT PARTNER (801) GRANTED ON 18 MAY 2015 - WE DID IT!

Last edited by Nelly87; 01-26-2013 at 12:30 AM.

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Old 01-26-2013, 12:41 AM
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In our case we never considered even using a migration agent as we didn't have the money to spare and my husband has a masters of science in research, he just did it all for us. We had to consider the costs of bringing out our cats and we got the same scare tactics from the pet transport companies, they said we couldn't do it without their help and if we did get the cats to Australia they would be sent back on the next plane out as we would never manage to do the paperwork correctly!

Well we didn't use the pet companies and our cats are here safe and sound, we will pick them up from quarantine next week!

Immigration is not an easy process to be taken lightly and if you are unsure of your abilities then an agent is a good idea at least to check your application. If I was going to use a migration agent then Mark would be my choice and I do think him being here can't hurt his business but that is OK. I admit when Mark first turned up on the forum I was a little suspicious and thought oh yeah just another migration agent looking to drum up business but in Mark's case I am convinced that he honestly does it to help out. If it helps him get more business then I am glad of it, as it will benefit those who use his service and Mark, so a win, win situation.

Kttykat




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Old 01-26-2013, 12:54 AM
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Yep same here. If we had known at the time and had had the funds we would have called Mark after seeing this on the forum

And just a big yay for picking your kitties up next week. I'm sorry, I know it's off-topic but that is a huge deal. You did it and it went well and you're picking them up soon!

__________________
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
PERMANENT PARTNER (801) GRANTED ON 18 MAY 2015 - WE DID IT!

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Old 01-26-2013, 11:39 AM
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I think Mark Being here, helpful and active on the forums, is probably the best kind of advertisement that money can buy, I'm sure many of us will use him for our future needs!

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