HOW TO: Write about your relationship history for a Partner (Spouse) Visa application

 

An application ‘must do’ is for you and your partner to write about your relationship history (and future plans).  I tell all of my clients that when they send in their relationship history statement with their application a case officer will assess it.  In the very least, your case officer will  ask

  1. Is it genuine?
  2. Does it satisfy the criteria under regulation 1.15A to the Migration Regulations 1994?

The last one sounds complicated.  The first can be equally as complicated, for how can you prove someone is being genuine??  For this blog, I will tell you about how you may achieve that.   The regulation above (1.15A)  includes: (I simplify this later)

(1) For subsection 5F(3) of the Act, … the Minister must consider all of the circumstances of the relationship, including the matters set out in subregulation (3).

(3) The matters for subregulation (2) are:
(a) the financial aspects of the relationship, including:
(i) any joint ownership of real estate or other major assets; and
(ii) any joint liabilities; and
(iii) the extent of any pooling of financial resources, especially in relation to major financial commitments; and
(iv) whether one person in the relationship owes any legal obligation in respect of the other; and
(v) the basis of any sharing of day-to-day household expenses; and

(b) the nature of the household, including:
(i) any joint responsibility for the care and support of children; and
(ii) the living arrangements of the persons; and
(iii) any sharing of the responsibility for housework; and

(c) the social aspects of the relationship, including:
(i) whether the persons represent themselves to other people as being married to each other; and
(ii) the opinion of the persons’ friends and acquaintances about the nature of the relationship; and
(iii) any basis on which the persons plan and undertake joint social activities; and

(d) the nature of the persons’ commitment to each other, including:
(i) the duration of the relationship; and
(ii) the length of time during which the persons have lived together; and
(iii) the degree of companionship and emotional support that the persons draw from each other; and
(iv) whether the persons see the relationship as a long-term one.

This is read more easily if we break it down into the following subjects

 1) finances,

2) the nature of the household,

3) the social aspects of the relationship and 4

) the nature of your commitment to each other.

You need to write in a statutory declaration about all of these aspects of your relationship covering all points for each subject.  I advise anything from 1 ½ to half a dozen pages.  The average is four pages typed.

As an example, if we take the first subject, finances, you might come up with something like:

“Susan and I are waiting on the outcome of the visa application before deciding whether or not we will buy a house. If the visa is granted Susan will arrive as soon as possible and I will start making enquiries for home loans.  We were travelling the last year so didn’t have any regular income. Susan and I worked as we travelled staying in backpackers, or taking out short-term leases.  We took turns paying and I have provided the receipts.”

This type of statement could lead to your visa being refused with no refund for a $7160.00  application fee to the Department of Home Affairs.  In the example above the person has tried to take into account all points (i) joint ownership, 2)joint liabilities, 3)financial pooling, 4) legal obligations and 5) household expenses but they haven’t been able to accumulate any of that type of financial history because they were travelling.  It is a valid reason,  but the visa would be refused. The case officer is directed under their own policy to refuse visas where they are not satisfied that the r.1.15A legislation has been met. You should seek representation in such a situation.  There are ways to meet the requirement depending on overall circumstances but need to be handled carefully.

I see these types of cases all the time, especially for couples where one person is in Australia on a Working Holiday Visa.  I know that many of these people are told that they cannot apply for a visa in such as situation.  But – with some careful attention, making up for the weaknesses in the application, referring to similar situations in case law, I can end up with a grantable visa application.  Working with you I will need to draw out as much as I can about your situation and future plans to convey the full story to the your case officer.  Then I need align your information up with all the relevant legislation including the one I pasted above (1.15A).

The case officer can will assess the information you and I give, checking it against the plethora of partner visa immigration regulation and policy.  For those who submit insubstantial information, the case officer will have had no choice but to refuse the visa.  Often it is because the relationship history might miss one of the r1.15A criteria.

If you are in a situation that you can provide substantial evidence of everything listed under r1.15A then you will be able to write solid relationship history.   If you can’t provide some of the evidence do not worry – there is a high chance you can go ahead anyway but don’t go it alone!  Seek advice as there is too much at stake if the application is refused.

 

FREE GUIDE ON HOW TO AVOID PARTNER VISA REFUSAL

 

Do you need health insurance?

 

You’ve read that for your visa you have access to medicare – but what exactly does that mean for you?  The ombudsman explains: 

 Medicare is the basis of Australia’s health care system and covers many health care costs. You can choose whether to have Medicare cover only, or a combination of Medicare and private health insurance. Citizens and most permanent Australian residents are eligible for Medicare. The Medicare system has three parts: hospital, medical and pharmaceutical.

Hospital  Under Medicare you can be treated as a public patient in a public hospital, at no charge, by a doctor appointed by the hospital. You can choose to be treated as a public patient, even if you are privately insured. As a public patient, you cannot choose your own doctor and you may not have a choice about when you are admitted to hospital.

Medicare does not cover:

  • private patient hospital costs (for example, theatre fees or accommodation),
  • medical and hospital costs incurred overseas,
  • medical and hospital services which are not clinically necessary, or surgery solely for cosmetic reasons,
  • ambulance services.

Many choose to also opt in for private health insurance, because you can see Medicare will not cover everything.   There is further information about what medicare does not cover lower in this page.   I found private health insurance is frequently taken out by partner visa holders as many are at a time in their lives when their is the intent to start a family.  Families and health insurance seem to go hand-in-hand.

Which private health insurance provider?

Each and every time I cannot go past BUPA medical.  They are Immigration’s only chosen medical visa services provider.   I am registered with BUPA so that my clients receive clear cut information about immigration needs specifically.  In order to reach this particular service click on the image below only.

You will find everything you need to know by reaching Bupa via clicking on the above image. If you wish to obtain more information such as premiums now click on the relevant image link below.

 

 

 

 

 

Further detail about Medicare reimbursements and cover

When you visit a doctor outside a hospital, Medicare will reimburse 100% of the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) fee for a general practitioner and 85% of the MBS fee for a specialist. If your doctor bills Medicare directly (bulk billing), you will not have to pay anything.

Medicare provides benefits for:

  • consultation fees for doctors, including specialists,
  • tests and examinations by doctors needed to treat illnesses, such as x-rays and pathology tests,
  • eye tests performed by optometrists,
  • most surgical and other therapeutic procedures performed by doctors,
  • some surgical procedures performed by approved dentists,
  • specific items under the Cleft Lip and Palate Scheme,
  • specific items under the Enhanced Primary Care (EPC) program,
  • specified items for allied health services as part of the Chronic Disease Management Plan.

Medicare does not cover:

  • examinations for life insurance, superannuation or memberships for which someone else is responsible (for example, a compensation insurer, employer or government authority),
  • ambulance services;
  • most dental examinations and treatment,
  • most physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, eye therapy, chiropractic services, podiatry or psychology services,
  • acupuncture (unless part of a doctor’s consultation),
  • glasses and contact lenses,
  • hearing aids and other appliances.
  • home nursing.

Pharmaceutical

Under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) you pay only part of the cost of most prescription medicines purchased at pharmacies. The rest of the cost is covered by the PBS. You must present your Medicare card to obtain this benefit.

The amount you pay varies with the medicine, up to a standard maximum. People with concession cards have a lower maximum payment.

Finance for your visa AND migration assistance now available!

Some of you are waiting for the right time to apply, and some of you are waiting for the funds to get started.  For you I am very excited to announce a new partnership I have established with Money for Jam and Migration Alliance.

This means you can obtain the necessary funds, with very impressive repayment amount requirements,  so you can get started as soon as possible for your visa application.

The key features are:

– Wide range of finance length
– No/Low early Termination fees
– Quick 24-48 turn around time
– Good/Bad Credit
– New to Country

What is amazing about this service is Money for Jam can take a look at any client on any visa or residency status!  I already have clients working out the finance contracts so they can now move forward and get what they truly want with far less stress.  I am simply elated for them and consider this to be a trouble free process.   They anticipate receiving the funds next Monday, only two days after applying.

Finance for $5000.00 may only  require $24 repayments per week, for $25,000 – may only required $110 per week.

And just a very important note, after attending a seminar for immigration law updates the message was loud and clear
“IF YOU ARE ELIGIBLE FOR A VISA NOW, APPLY NOW.”

If you have been watching the news you will now there is a lot of uncertainty now around visa pathways, now more than ever.   So take heed, if you are eligible now, do your best to apply now and of course with my help if you need it.

Take the time to look at what this new partnership offers you and your loved one, or perhaps a friend or colleague.    

 

Money for Jam are the finance experts – they will speak to you about this aspect of the visa application.

If you are concerned about eligibility for the visa book a  strategy session  with me as soon as you can.

If you haven’t already taken up our offer you are still eligible for a FREE 30 minute strategy session where we get clear on your goals and what is best for you in the immigration process.  If you don’t intend to take up this offer forward it onto a friend who could use the help.
Click on the blue box above  to make a booking!

Best wishes,

 

 

Mind Your Manners, Please! Communicating with your case officer

Recently my 6 year old’s behaviour has been grating on me, and simultaneously entertaining me.  Her name is Suraya. Examples of some of Suraya’s cheekiness are, “Give me that phone, missy!”, “Darrrling, I’m not going to bed Jennifer darrrling.”   Many times she has made me laugh as I inwardly admire her humour and confidence. I imagine her growing up to be a confident woman and of course that pleases me.  But usually I have admonished Suraya because it is just not right for a 6 year old to talk to an adult, let alone her mother like that.  For starters she should call me ‘Mum’ or ‘Mummy’.    This reminds me of my work, and how essential it is I talk to case officers ‘delegates of the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection’ in the right and proper way.

Absolutely there have been times when I’ve exclaimed to myself “How dare that decision be made without regard to this evidence!!”, “Clearly this case officer has no understanding of the policy!!” But, acting with regard to the best interests of my clients, and with regard to the skills and expertise of the vast majority of case officers,  I must only speak to the case officer respectfully. This might sound obvious but it is surprising how many people expect case officers to grant visas and ‘do their job’ for their own benefit.   Some would say that’s very right, however I say it is better to be very respectful and polite.

If you are not being represented, please be mindful of this advice as you speak with case officers from immigration. I will paste an extract from one of my submission letters so that you get the idea.  In it I am respectfully asking a case officer to consider a decision made at the Migration Review Tribunal which could mean a complex partner visa application might be granted.

We humbly request that much weight be placed on the Tribunal’s reasoning in the decision making process and see that there are a significant number of financial documents to show …

I am being polite just to ask them if they would even consider using some information in their decision making process. I’m not going to tell them that they must consider it.   Even though I am aware of this area of law (below), I am not going to arrogantly point it out to the case officer

MIGRATION ACT 1958 – SECT 54

Minister(Minister can be a delegate of the Minister ie; your case officer)must have regard to all information in application
(1) The Minister must, in deciding whether to grant or refuse to grant a visa, have regard to all of the information in the application.

The following is very important.

MIGRATION ACT 1958 – SECT 55

Further information may be given
(1) Until the Minister has made a decision whether to grant or refuse to grant a visa, the applicant may give the Minister any additional relevant information and the Minister must have regard to that information in making the decision.

(2) Subsection (1) does not mean that the Minister is required to delay making a decision because the applicant might give, or has told the Minister that the applicant intends to give, further information.

In short this means once you have submitted your application the case officer is not obliged to ask for any further information to show that your relationship 1) meets the visa requirements and 2) is not fake.  If you inadvertently haven’t submitted enough information they have every right to refuse the visa application (potentially a nearly $7k loss for partner visa applicants) without affording you any further chance to provide documents.  I go into much more detail in a guide I have provided free of charge (http://www.jenniferkhan.com/giveaway)  It is one of many areas of law that shows the position case officers hold, and subsequently that they are to be spoken with respectfully if you want things to go your way.   Which leads me to the arrogance and dangerous assumptions of some visa applicants.

I do cringe when I hear people assume their visa will be granted easily. This leads to people speaking the wrong way to immigration officers and to their hard working representatives after which you definitely wont be receiving any favours!  There is no easy case.  Even if an applicant has 100 pieces of evidence to show immigration that their visa application (any kind) is real it doesn’t necessarily mean your case officer will think its real.   Look at this Tribunal decision,  (Administrative Appeals Tribunal Case 1511362, 24 February, 2017), absolutely devastating to the couple involved.

Tribunal cannot be satisfied that the sponsor is not simply imitating a role in the household simply to assist the application…

…Tribunal has had regard to the English Oxford Dictionary (on-line) definitions of “sham” and “false”. In relation to persons, “sham” is defined as “a person who pretends to be someone or something they are not”… “false” is defined as “made to imitate something in order to deceive” or “not according with truth or fact”

The Tribunal considers that the relationship presented to the Tribunal is a sham and a false one because the Tribunal has formed the view that the applicant is, at least on her part, pretending and imitating a relationship in order to acquire a visa that she would otherwise not be eligible for.

The Tribunal believed that all the documents submitted with the Partner Visa applciation were either fake or used to deceive.  Yes – it is difficult to establish otherwise.  This is further reason to speak respectfully and politely to an immigration officer.

If a case officer does not believe that your relationship is real they have no obligation to provide you a chance to show it:

 Minister for Immigration & Multicultural Affairs; ex parte Durairajasingham [2000] 168 ALR 407 at [67]: If the primary decision maker has stated that he or she does not believe a particular witness, no detailed reasons need to be given as to why that particular witness was not believed.

Having been involved with immigration processes for years I sometimes forget that many grossly underestimate the complexity of the visa process.  Yes, some people do obtain visas easily (what they perceive to be an easy process) and many times I have seen people devastated at a refusal decision where they, their family and friends had no doubt that they would receive a visa grant.

I found it heartbreaking when genuine couples show me a visa refusal decision.   When you start any visa application process it helps to understand and remember the position of the case officer assessing your visa application. If you are unrepresented and need to communicate with your case officer please keep this advice in mind.

More info about refusals:

A little bit more about case officers:

But definitely download the giveaway I mentioned:

 

When should you lodge your partner visa application?

“My partner is on a tourist visa and going back to the UK next month. So we are just going to apply  while Meg is in the UK. She has all her documents and photos  there so its going to be much easier that way for us. Meg needs to go to a wedding there plus she wants to spend more time with her family before settling here”

I gasp, thinking of all the ways I can possibly think to convince him not to do that, without sounding like I’m rail roading him into changing an important decision, going against what they believe is best for them.

This is because if Meg applies in the UK she is most likely going to have to stay outside Australia throughout the entire processing of the visa application.  Now this can be a year or more (although I proudly claim for some of my clients I have had partner visa grants within 4 weeks).  This means that there will be perhaps an entire year or more that Meg cannot enter Australia!  No, Meg can’t even come over on a tourist visa unless there is strong and convincing evidence that Meg would leave before a tourist  visa expired.   The reason is due to immigration’s policy.

Policy holds that a case officer, the person who assesses any visa application,  must refuse a tourist visa if they doubt an applicant intends to come to Australia for just a visit.  They will most likely not believe that an applicant is just going to visit Australia if they are in a relationship with an Australian citizen or permanent resident. They will very likely write back, acting on the policy:

Decision-makers are are guided to consider…whether there any other more suitable visa options for the visa

Subsequently Meg is most likely to be advised to apply for a partner visa, if it has not been lodged yet. If it has been lodged Meg will most likely be told that they do not believe Meg’s intentions are to visit Australia only and then refuse the visa.  Usually this is devastating for couples.  A visit visa might be granted if strong and convincing reasons can be established showing Meg would return to the UK before the visit visa expired.  However, so many people in this situation return back to their home country to no job, and no intention to apply for a job because they plan to settle in Australia. Not being able to show significant employment to a case officer very much goes against a positive tourist visa application assessment.

Meg and her Sponsor could try what they want to do which is wait for Meg to go back to the UK, lodge a partner visa application while over there, and then apply for a visit visa to come back to Australia. But the chances of a visit visa refusal is high could easily lead to much disappointment and heartache.

I have seen countless numbers of visit visas refused where couples have opted to apply outside Australia (sometimes this is their only option of course).  It is usually heartbreaking and distressing for all family and friends involved.   I hate to see couples separated due to immigration law and policy even for brief periods of time – so will always urge the following strategy, if possible, and of course based on eligibility for the partner visa.

STEP 1 Strive to collect all the minimum ‘time of application’ requirements to be able to lodge a Partner Visa before Meg leaves Australia. If there are any mandatory documents that Meg does not have in Australia she should ask family or friends to obtain them, scan and email them to Meg.  (There are different requirements for ‘time of application’ and ‘time of decision’ on whether or not to grant the visa).  

STEP 2 Use the Bridging Visa A details obtained when the partner visa is lodged to apply for a Bridging Visa B.  The Bridging Visa A is granted to allow Meg to stay in Australia, after her cuurent visa expires, while a decision is being made on the partner visa application. This visa will allow Meg to leave Australia but not re-enter.  The bridging visa which allows Meg to leave and re-enter is the Bridging Visa B. This usually needs 2 weeks to process so you can see how quickly Meg and her Sponsor should take action if she wishes to go back to the UK a month later.  I will most likely be able to help clients achieve a bridging visa more quickly if necessary.  You cannot apply for a Bridging Visa B without the Bridging Visa A.

STEP 3 Meg goes back home to the UK continuing to gather significant documents to add to the partner via application. All the’ time of application requirements’ would be submitted so it’s about sending documents to meet the’ time of decision’ requirements.   They should be sent to immigration as soon as possible.  Requests for extensions of time to provide documents can be made also.  Meg has a great time and after a month she returns back to Australia easily.  In Meg’s case she  will have full work rights and can commence employment while waiting for an outcome on the partner visa application.

So in this case, it is far better to lodge sooner, rather than later, and before leaving Australia.

LOOK OUT!

 BRIDGING VISAS ARE FREQUENTLY MISUNDERSTOOD

CLICK HERE FOR FURTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION

FAKE NEWS and bridging visas

 

I’m giving  you the right advice so you truly know your travel options and rights if you happen to be, or are soon to be, holding a Bridging Visa A.

I have encountered countless examples of people who believe they cannot apply for a Bridging Visa B if their Bridging Visa A is ‘not yet in effect’.   If you have a Bridging Visa A you can leave Australia but cannot return.  So you need to apply for a Bridging Visa B if you want to leave and return. You cannot apply for a Bridging Visa B (BVB) if you do not have a Bridging Visa A.    What if you have a Bridging Visa A (BVA)  but it is not yet in effect? Many think they cannot apply for a BVB.

I include an image below of a question in a popular online forum.    So this person, I will call him Mr X, has heard that he cannot get a BVB until his student visa expires.  What has happened here is Mr X would have received a BVA grant letter stating the BVA will not ‘come into effect’ until the student visa expires. He would have received a BVA when he applied for the Subclass 485 visa.   Someone has told Mr X that he has to wait until the BVA comes into effect (at the time the student visa expires) to be able to apply for a Bridging Visa.

But it is not true! Mr X could have applied for the BVB and travelled back home when he wanted! I will explain: 

A person can be a holder of a Bridging Visa A even if it is not in effect.

A person is granted a BVA on the basis of a substantive visa application.  Yes it is true that it does not come into effect until the expiry of the previous visa however that person is a holder of the Bridging Visa A.   A holder of a BVA can apply for a BVB.

From Immigration’s own Procedures Advice Manual (what the case officers should be following and understanding)

[P Sch2.BV-29.2] Bridging visa can come into effect and cease to be in effect during visa period.
Although a bridging visa is ‘held’ for the visa period, it can be in effect or not in effect during the visa period. It is ‘in effect’ on those occasions during the visa period when the holder does not hold a substantive visa or another bridging visa that is more beneficial than the first-mentioned bridging visa (refer also to Most beneficial bridging visa).
The BVA example below illustrates this:
• when a BVA is granted, it will not come into effect until the substantive visa (if any) held by the person ceases to be in effect — refer to 010.511(a)(ii), 010.513(a)(ii) and 010.514(a)(ii)
• this means that the visa period has started and the person ‘holds’ the BVA even though it is not in effect until the substantive visa ceases”

To really emphasise this point and to show how common this misunderstanding is look at the inaccurate professional advice (image) below:  “if you are on a Bridging Visa A …it is in effect…you can apply for a Bridging Visa B”.   No-  there is no need to include as a condition that the BVA is is in effect. 

 

This is what the law says:

020.211 The applicant is the holder of:

  • (a) a Bridging A (Class WA) visa; or
  • (b) a Bridging B (Class WB) visa. 
Note that the regulations state that an applicant for a BVB is a holder of a BVA, it does not require that the BVA is also in effect.  Recently I was told by a person that they called Immigration’s own information number to be told the opposite.  I was exasperated!   I ended up obtaining written confirmation from Immigration that the BVA does not need to be in effect to apply for a BVA.  The Bridging Visa legislation is quite complex, even conditions that may seem clear to you can be easily misinterpreted.   It’s a logical mistake to make – that you can’t apply for a BVB if your BVA is not in effect (reminder: you can) – but the consequence of that mistake is such a disadvantage.  I hate to think of those who needed to return home for a significant family event and were unable due to this misunderstanding.

Partner Visa Application Fee: How much is too much to lose?

untitled-design-27

There are all kinds of risks in relationships and love – asking a person on a first date,  telling a person you love them for the first time, relocating to be with your girlfriend.  We all know sometimes romantic relationships last a life time and sometimes they don’t.   The process of going through a partner visa application can place a great deal of  negative pressure on keeping a relationship going.  More times than not I see people who won’t let an immigration process get in their way.  But I’ll often hear a common fear, ‘What if the visa is refused?

What recently struck me when I considered  visa applicants over the last several years  is that since the immigration fees have increased to nearly $7000 another fear is admitted, ‘What if the visa is granted,  but then our relationship doesn’t even last? There goes the visa fee, relocation fees, a job…’

Years ago I would never experience a client admit this fear to me. If the fear is ever revealed I think it usually would be to a close family member or friend.  Since the partner visa fee increase I do sometimes hear a client admit a strong fear of financial loss.   The total cost of relocating countries to live with a loved one can be huge when considering airfares, wrapping up work commitments, insurances, immigration assistance fees, medical costs and so on.   What if things don’t work out?  What if the partner migrating to Australia doesn’t like it here, or misses their family too much?  This is huge emotional and financial pressure.

There are many couples who have a ‘whatever it takes’ commitment to make sure they can be together.   I have to agree that I would take the same approach moving forward in a way where the ultimate decision is not about money.  Beliefs and attitudes around money, abundance mindsets or lack is not something I am confident to give advice about. I do know that, simply put,  if we work we can gain money in addition to borrowing from friends, family or banks.  Generally speaking I think we eventually find the funds to do what we need to do. For that reason money pressure can be taken out of the decision whether or not to apply for the partner visa.

Several months ago I sat down face to face with a client for a lunch hour.  There were legitimate concerns as to why he thought their relationship wouldn’t last long term.  I loved his approach, because although he was clearly worried at the thought of losing a lot of money if the relationship didn’t work out he said, “I love her.  Even if after she gets here she falls out of love or doesn’t like it here she deserves this chance.  I love her and she’s a good person, I’m happy to put the money into it.”

I wish it were easier and cheaper for those embarking on the partner visa process, especially when there are no guarantees.  The faster you commit to a process the faster your partner could be in Australia including earning Australian money.  After that, more experiences and challenges to come!  Read on for tips to help you through (click on images below).

 

JENNIFER KHAN how to blog image

Jennifer Khan Partenr Visa application refused

Migration Assistance

The Partner Visa Application Package

Untitled design (9)

 

 

You need a Partner Visa. Your biggest problem? A lack of free and reliable information

JENNIFER KHAN your biggest problem

One of the biggest problems I hear from my clients is that by the time they have sought out my assistance they are frustrated with a lack of free and trustworthy information.  The Department of Immigration and Border Protection lists the requirements for visas, provides a booklet and also checklists.  However many times couples find themselves, when trying to align their circumstances with the requirements, feeling like they are a square peg trying to fit into round hole.  They then fear they cannot apply.   The next step taken is usually a call to Immigration. Due to high numbers of calls to Immigration there is usually a very long wait time to be told generic information if any.   If there are  specific questions involved the person who answer the phone will usually suggest you seek the advice of a Registered Migration Agent.

Understandably with the high cost of applying for a Partner Visa most people seriously consider doing the application themselves, often relying on information from friends who have recently been through the process or through online forums.   I think a person becomes very vulnerable in the attempt to seek trustworthy information.  And all too often people end up believing the wrong thing.  A client from several years ago and I were about to  lodge his application when he adamantly told me that his uncle said we could pursue an alternate pathway. Which we couldn’t.  It was an awkward situation and I had to respectfully steer my client away from relying upon  word on the street migration advice.

This year I have decided to share some of my experience and knowledge for free.  This was a challenge for me for I had previously operated in a “my time is money” way.  As an ethical Registered Migration Agent I see what I am sharing on my website is trustworthy.  I am happy that this addresses many people’s concerns that there is not enough good assistance around for free.  The information is also a tool for people to determine whether they will need to use a Registered Migration Agent or not.  But then not all Registered Migration Agents are trustworthy either.  I recently heard a client tell me that their previous Registered Migration Agent (RMA) said it was no problem for them to create all the witness statements. This is not ok at all, it is illegal.  Apparently all aspects of the application would be handled by this RMA “easily”.  Months later we find no application was ever lodged and the RMA was unwilling to send this client their file which they are entitled to.  I suspect no file was ever created.  Not only that a higher fee than I charge was taken and a refund promised,  a promise unlikely to be fulfilled.   You will be familiar with news stories about dodgy Migration Agents, especially regarding work visas where employers take 10s of thousands of dollars for sponsorship (illegal) and the agents will take even more money.

In any profession there are people who operate unethically so it is fortunate that Migration Agents Registration Authority are good at weeding out dodgy agents. An example of a cancelled registration:

The Agent’s registration as a migration agent has been cancelled under section 303 of the Migration Act 1958 and he cannot provide immigration assistance. The Authority considered several complaints and found that the Agent had breached clauses 2.1, 2.4, 2.6, 2.8, 2.9, 2.9A, 2.15, 2.18, 2.23, 3.4, 5.2, 5.5, 7.1B, 7.2, 7.4, 9.1 and 9.3 of the Code of Conduct for registered migration agents. The Authority also found that the Agent is not a person of integrity or otherwise not a fit and proper person to give immigration assistance. The Agent repeatedly mislead his clients; did not lodge applications and perform services which he was contracted to provide; retained client funds; knowingly presented false information to the Department in connection with 2 visa applications and failed to respond to complaints and attempted to mislead the Authority

The number one source of reliable information would have to be from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website.   The checklist there does provide a concise list of requirements.  There is often accurate information on forums also, the only problem there is the conflicting information which leaves a person confused.  My best advice then is that you rely on the Immigration website advice only. If you feel you need further information go straight to a Registered Migration Agent.  We RMA’s have been trained to always, for each and every client, go to the Migration Act 1958 and  Migration Regulations 1994  first and foremost, checking that all we do is up-to-date with the latest changes. I rely on the Act and the Regulations more than the Immigration website.

I have also been visited by clients who have sought the advice of an ethical Migration Agent, I know that this agent does good work, but were turned away being told that it was impossible to apply for a visa.  It was good that they decided to obtain a second opinion as I was able to tell them otherwise by thoroughly checking the regulations and recent policy. The couple went on to have a visa granted several months later.  Point is, if the Immigration website makes you feel you may be ineligible, check with a Registered Migration Agent,  if you are unsatisfied with that opinion you can go on to receive a second opinion.  In my experience word on the street advice has left clients very fearful of the worse unncessarily and often wastes a lot of time.

Useful information about selecting a representative can be found here https://www.mara.gov.au/using-an-agent/

Where to find a checklist from Immigration see below: Checklist location

3 reasons