I just had a client ask me something along those lines. Do I blame him or was I offended? Not really. Of course. I have professional pride, and I know how hard me and my team at Down Under Visa work. They all know the sound of my bark if even a small mistake is made. Better to keep me in a good mood. Our policy is 0% mistakes.
But despite this, I do also understand. And I understand why. When articles like THIS (click HERE) hit the newsstands and you read of a conman (with a Mercedes) who cons hopefuls out of $40,000.00 a pop with a promise of permanent residency, it shakes people up.
But please note that this was NOT a Registered Migration Agent.
Me? As an ACTUAL Registered Migration Agent, I’m governed by a Code of Conduct. I have to renew every year. I have to keep abreast of changes in the Law, and I regularly get on a plane to attend Continued Professional Development seminars. By Law I have to give each and every client a copy of the Consumer Guide (HERE) which tells people how to complain about me if I do the wrong thing! Even a lawyer doesn’t need to do that.
So would I be tempted to take your money and run away? Even if that was my inclination, I won’t toss away my livelihood for that. If I can’t help you I’ll tell you, and I’ll tell you in no uncertain terms. We lodge literally hundreds of applications every year, and I won’t risk all of them for one swindle. They would hang me out to dry if I ever slipped up, and rightly so. It’s not just a matter of money. We deal primarily with partner visas, and that means couples getting to be with the one they love. It’s not a small issue.
So you’re extremely safe with us! Look us up! Go to www.mara.gov.au and look for Jeff Harvie.
How safe are you with an unregistered “agent”? That visa agency in a mall in Cebu or Davao or in Manila or somewhere else in the Philippines, which your lady wants you to use because they’re closer? Or maybe they’re cheaper? Poor economy especially if you end up with a refusal, or an application that drags out for years due to ignorance on the part of the “agent”. You’re not safe at all! If you go down this path, jolly good luck to you!
Know what? MOST countries don’t allow unregistered and therefore unqualified people to lodge visa applications for clients. Australia requires registration of qualified and ethically-proven people to operate within Australia. But outside of the country? Anything goes! Anybody, even if unqualified or even a convicted conman, can put up a sign and call himself “Wacko Visas” or something, and you can put your hopes and dreams in his hands and hope for the best.
The US? Canada? UK? Even New Zealand? Their immigration offices will not accept an application prepared by a non-registered consultant. To operate a migration consultancy practice outside of Australia, we do not need to be registered. However we are, and will continue to be. So you may continue to have peace of mind. Insist on a Registered Migration Agent, and watch out for anything that sounds too good. It usually IS too good.
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