Immigration is complex, it is expensive, and it is very unforgiving.
All Migration Agents and Lawyers who are qualified to give Immigration Advice are registered with MARA (Migration Agents Registration Authority) under the Department of Home Affairs. Unfortunately our industry is plagued by shonky and outright rip-off merchants. These people are not always overseas.
If you use a shonk you should expect any of the following to happen:
- You pay too much
- You get to the airport and find that the visa grant notice is fake
- The COE is fake
- The Shonk has uploaded fake documents and now your visa gets refused and you get an exclusion period
- The shonk charges a lot of money and does such an appalling application that you have no chance of the visa being granted
- They make promises that are simply untrue and impossible
- A shonk now has copies of your passport and many other details. Expect them to steal your identity and use these to start getting credit cards etc
- Because they have done everything wrong, expect later cancellations, refusals and other mess
There are also shonks who just don’t know what they are talking about. It is common for these people to tell you not to mention your family when you apply for a student visa. If you do this, when you do decide to apply to have your family join you, you will have to explain why you lied in original application. Expect your visa to be cancelled and a three year exclusion on coming back.
I have seen all of these. These shonks ruin peoples lives.
No matter who they claim to be or how shiny their office, don’t touch anyone for anything visa related unless they are Migration Agents registered with MARA.
In all cases go to mara.gov.au and check the agent details. Make everything matches the name, picture, email address and phone number that is on the MARA website. Only communicate with your agent through that email and phone.