Registered Migration Agents (RMA’s) and the Do It Yourself Visa

If you’re reading this as a former client, current client or prospective client of Down Under Visa, I’m sure you will understand this article very well and I’m sure you will agree with me. You will be like the average person who understands that all have the right to earn a legitimate living. Registered Migration Agents (RMA’s) like myself worked hard to get ourselves qualified in years gone by, and have spent many more years perfecting our knowledge and instincts. And we work long hours with the stress of having to maintain the highest standards. Bottom line? We deserve to be paid for our work. And our advice IS our work! And decent people understand this. If you want a do it yourself visa, you won’t get professional help and guidance!  


Do It Yourself Visa applications versus professionally managed visa applications from a Registered Migration Agent


Professional Advice from Migration Agents

I read something the other day. It went something like this:

You don’t pay me for the five minutes I spent giving you advice. You pay me for the 20 years I spent acquiring the knowledge and experience to give you that advice.

Huge amount of truth in that. It’s true that I rarely raise much of a sweat over a client’s issue, and yet I know from experience that my solution is correct. And I know that we save people from making decisions that will harm their futures on a daily basis. So what we do is valuable. And therefore we deserve to get paid.

I think there was about one about a TV repairman kicking the TV to make it work. Charged $200.00. $5.00 for kicking it, and $195.00 for knowing WHERE to kick it! Yes, your problems and issues matter a LOT to us. But the solutions are not difficult for us.

But yes, this is how it works. Professional advice means advice you pay a professional for, because they’re an expert in the field. And by contracting their services, you’re asking them to advise and to act in your best interest always. You’re asking them to apply their knowledge to ensure you have the best possible outcome and to avoid the problems and to jump the hurdles. And we live and breathe partner and tourist visas from Philippines to Australia. They get into my dreams! Quiet evenings sitting on the balcony with my wife? Yeah, we talk about client issues. Jeremy visited last night. Yes, we discussed clients and visa applications!  


Free Visa Assessments – and where “free” stops!

We do free assessments via our Visa Assessment Form on the Down Under Visa website. If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve done one! No charge for these assessments, but there are limits there. What does a free visa assessment cover? We tell you:

  • If we can help you and why
  • What visa options are open to you
  • Links to further information about these visas
  • Timelines for processing applications
  • Costs

What we will NOT tell you is how to prepare and lodge your own do it yourself visa application! We will do assessments for you, and we will clarify what it means. If that takes a few emails back and forth to clarify what we meant, and to answer fears and concerns? Or to clarify what Down Under Visa managing your application means? Never a problem, and never has been. And this part of it remains free until you decide if you wish to go ahead. That’s how we do things, and despite the fact that most of my colleagues in Australia charge for consultations we choose to stick to our tried-and-trusted method.  


Do It Yourself Visa Applications

The old adage in courts of law for those who try to defend themselves is:

Anyone representing himself in court has a fool for a client

Judges talk them out of it. The Government provides free assistance. They give leave to find someone to advocate for you. They know how much it matters, and to those of us who represent migration clients we feel the same about do it yourself visas….as do the vast majority of our clients. Plunge into something you don’t know about and try to learn as you go? You may do OK, but you’re taking a huge risk.

Anyway, that’s not really what this article is about!

The issue I suppose is me having a bit of a sound-off about do it yourself visa people who have the audacity to approach a professional who runs a legitimate Migration Agency practice (which IS a business) and try to get work done for them for free. It’s a bit ill-mannered! We don’t get Government funding to give out free advice. We run a business with staff and rent and all the other operating expenses. Trying to get us to tell you how to do it yourself? It’s not right.

I don’t mind people taking their time. I don’t mind people deciding they’ll use a different Migration Agent, and I don’t take offence at someone deciding to do their own visa application! Not at all. Just be aware that I won’t tell you how to do it. I won’t give step by step instructions, and I won’t give out lists of visa requirements. Asking “What are my requirements?” because you want to get a head start on it and get back to us later? It doesn’t work that way. Read the link above! There are no generic lists of visa requirements where one-size-fits-all.

So that’s it, really. There is a clear limit to what we will give out for free. It’s fairly obvious when you think of it. And our professional fees for managing an Australian visa application from Philippines is surprisingly reasonable, and for something like a partner visa it’s a fraction of what the Government charge in visa fees. We look forward to helping you.  


Free online visa assessment form from Down Under Visa


Jeff Harvie is a Registered Migration Agent from Australia, but resident in Philippines since 2010 with his Filipina wife Mila and large extended family. Experienced with the Philippines culture, cross-cultural relationships and bureaucracy as well as Australian visas and Australian Migration Law, he writes with authority and fortunately with enough informality and humour that the average Aussie gets it!


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