Many persons filing an Australian visa and immigration application believe they can handle their case and filings by themselves. However, few Australian citizens, let alone aliens, have any understanding of the Australian migration system.
Australian migration involves many laws and regulations from several government agencies, and application of these laws and regulations is based on an individual's factual circumstances. Many people mistakenly believe that immigration law is just "form filling".
In fact, the field of Australian immigration law is quite complex and it changes frequently. Registered Migration Agents rare required to study and attend tests to demonstrate migration knowledge as a part of the yearly registration process. As a result we are fully aware of the many changes to the Australian migration program which occur regularly.
A precise analysis of an individual's factual circumstances, knowledge and experience is often required to make the very important decisions that are involved in immigration and visas applications. Persons who file their applications themselves often make mistakes that are costly not only in terms of money, but also in terms of time and timeliness of filings are critical in immigration matters.
Australian visa application fees are not refundable in any circumstances after a valid visa application has been lodged and accepted by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.
Government web sites, government telephone question lines and many other web sites do offer information about immigration. While these may be a benefit for developing "background information" one would be well-advised to be cautious to rely on this information. Simply publishing information on the internet does not make the information accurate or applicable to one's individual factual circumstances.
Those who offer "public" information may not have the ability or resources to advise you on your individual case. Often information among different government agencies differs widely, let alone the different advice one may receive from just a single agency.
As a general rule, the Australian Embassy, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) and other agencies involved in the immigration process do not assume the responsibility for educating prospective immigrants. These agencies often believe that their main task is to serve more in an enforcement role and apply regulations by strict accordance. If informal advice is offered and it is rarely offered, such advice is frequently understood by the recipient inaccurately and can be misleading.
Seemingly simple matters involving visa and immigration issues can become confused in the regulations, agency interpretations, and become problematic. A Registered Migration Agent can explain all the options available to you and assist you in making the right choices. A Registered Migration Agent can also deal with your case more effectively and efficiently than you probably can yourself. Even if you intend to file an application on your own, you may wish to consult with registered migration agent before filing any document.
Unless you deal with visa and immigration matters regularly, it is doubtful that you will be able to work your way through the process without encountering problems. Even minor errors or omissions in processing your forms in a timely manner, or in the interpretation of the substantive law, may result in serious consequences. Migration Agents are often hired by people who attempted to file applications themselves but failed for a variety of reasons. Legal fees often end up being higher in such cases.
A Registered Migration Agent can work with you to prepare your case and represent you before the Australian Embassy or administrative agency handling your petition. The agent should be able to explain why your case meets the requirements of the law and if problems arise, the agent often has additional resources available to help resolve the issue or can prepare your case for an appeal.
Beware of notaries, consultants, service bureaus, travel agents, people who promise quick and easy solutions to immigration problems, anyone who guarantees they can get you a visa for a certain fee, lawyers from other countries who do not know Australian laws and are not licensed to practice in Australia and people who say they "know someone" who has an "inside track".
Be wary of unlicensed visa consultants. They are not accountable to anyone. They are known for taking people's money and doing nothing. Or worse, they may lie to the government in your name for a quick, simple solution that in the end may result in your deportation or permanent exclusion from Australia.
If you are not sure whether the person offering you immigration services is a registered migration agent, ask to see the Registered Migration Agent certificate. You can also check their validity at the Migration Agents Registration Authority website at http://www.themara.com.au/Online/default.asp.
Remember, in Australia it is illegal to practice migration law without MARA registration
Alpha Migration is registered with the MARA – Migration Agents Registration Number 0849632 and also a Migration Institute of Australia (MIA) member.